Top 5 Vehicle Anti-Theft Devices

Did you know that more than a million cars are stolen each year? A recent study showed that every 25 seconds, a car is reported stolen somewhere in the United States. Whether your car is taken by teens joyriding or by a professional thief with an eye towards parting it out, car theft can have a big impact on your life. Avoiding car theft entirely may not be possible, but there are certainly ways to reduce your chance of becoming a victim. Besides the common-sense tactics of keeping the doors locked and the windows rolled up, and always taking the keys with you, here are the top 5 anti-theft devices:

1) The Club. Also known as a bar lock or wheel lock, this device locks up the steering wheel so that the car cannot be driven or steered. Their instantly recognizable shape means that a potential thief will immediately notice the device upon looking in the window of your car, providing a powerful visual deterrent.

2) Audible car alarms. These alarms may be installed at the dealership or after-market. Also known as ‘nuisance alarms,’ they serve to make a lot of noise to scare away thieves. However, bystanders have gotten so used to them that they may simply go ignored. Still, most car thieves will be unwilling to steal your car as the alarm is blaring for fear of calling attention to themselves. Some car alarms now send a silent alarm to a pager, instead of or in addition to sounding an audible warning.

3) Security tracking devices. Services such as Lojack or Onstar can locate your car if it is stolen, resulting in a faster return. Although more expensive, these GPS-based devices are known to be among the most effective ways of getting your car back after it’s been taken. However, they may not be able to stop a thief from taking the vehicle in the first place.

4) Kill switches. These hidden switches can be installed to control your car’s ignition. If not switched, the car won’t start, even with the key in the ignition. Similarly to the Club steering wheel lock, this device serves as a mechanical lock to keep thieves from being able to drive away in your car. Similar mechanical devices include pedal locks, which prevent the gas pedal from being pressed.

5) Alarm lights or stickers. Also known as “dummy alarms,” this fake security system is less expensive than the real thing and often just as effective. Real alarm systems deter thieves from breaking in because they don’t want to be caught. A dummy alarm looks like the real thing, but isn’t wired in. A blinking light on the dashboard tells experienced thieves that your car is protected by an alarm, and they’ll pass it up for a vehicle that is unprotected. Just the sight of an anti-theft device is often enough to make thieves think twice about trying to break into a vehicle.

These are just a few of the anti-theft methods you can use to try to hinder thieves who may be targeting your car. No device is foolproof, but each of the above methods can dramatically reduce your chance of becoming the victim of a car theft.

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