A car is stolen nationally every 20 seconds, which adds up to more than a million stolen each year. Twenty percent of all auto thefts are a result of either keys being left in the car and unlocked doors. Facts indicate that professional car thieves have entered the field in increasing numbers; however, most cars are still taken by amateurs who can be stopped fairly easily.
Protect Your Car from Theft
The owner or authorized driver of a car should not leave the vehicle unattended without locking the ignition and removing the key. Keys should be carefully guarded. If the keys have punch-out numbers, these should be removed and kept at home for reference in case of loss.
You can greatly increase your protection against auto theft crime by taking the following precautions.
- Park in a well-lit area.
- Close all windows; lock all doors.
- Activate any theft deterrent device you may have.
- Put packages or valuables out of sight. CB radios, tape and cassette decks and other expensive items in full view invite theft.
- If you park in a commercial lot or garage, leave only the ignition key with the attendant.
- If you have a garage, use it. Lock both the vehicle and the garage.
- Never hide spare keys under the seat, in the glove compartment, or in the sun visor.
- If you are selling your vehicle, never let the prospective buyer test drive the vehicle without you in it.
- Carry a record of your license plate and vehicle identification number in your wallet. Do not keep your pink slip in the glove compartment.
- The more time consuming an auto theft is, the more likely the thief will become discouraged and seek an easier target.
- If you drive a truck, install a lockbox with a case hardened padlock in the bed.
Auto theft security devices In order to secure your car, several devices may be installed to deter or prevent theft of the car or any of its parts or contents. Anti-theft devices, expensive or not, are only going to deter the inexperienced thief.
- Wheel Locks
- This device replaces one lug nut on each tire and is key-operated. (Hub caps: special locking devices are available for certain hub caps such as the spoked hub, etc.)
- Guard Plate
- Install a guard plate over the trunk lock with carriage bolts to protect the trunk cylinder.
- Trunk Lock
- As an auxiliary or secondary locking device, a heavy duty chain lock may be installed inside the trunk and is key-operated.
- Ignition Cut-Off (kill switch)
- A key-operated or hidden manual switch that interrupts the power supply from the battery to the ignition.
- Fuel Cut-Off
- Integrated into the fuel line, this device prevents the flow of gasoline once the fuel in the gas line is used. Only a special key deactivates the cut-off.
- Door Locks
- Visible inside door lock buttons should be smooth and tapered.
- Hood Lock
- A secondary hood lock should be installed to prevent access to the power source, battery or siren for an alarm system. A key-operated bolt, which is accessible from inside the car, or a chain and padlock accessible from the outside, should be installed.
- Steering Wheel Lock
- Placed on steering wheel, stopping wheel from being turned.
- Locking Fuel Cap
- Install a locking fuel cap to limit a car thief to just one tank of fuel. It won't prevent your car from being taken, but it may mean that it will be abandoned sooner. There are several alarm systems that will serve to deter or discourage the car thief and alert others of forced entry into the car. However, your anti-theft devices are primarily a deterrent to the amateur thief. An experienced thief will not be deterred by any anti-theft device.
- The sounding device, used in lieu of the horn, is installed in the engine compartment and should have an audible range of at least 300 feet.
- Pin Switches
- Plunger-type switches that are installed on the doors, hood and trunk, which, when released to their furthest extension, activate the siren.
- Glass Protection
- A sensing device is available that discriminates the sound of breaking glass and can be used in conjunction with switches for overall alarm protection.
- Voltage Sensing Device
- This device is attached to the wiring of the vehicle and triggers the alarm when a drain of power is detected, such as from an interior, hood or trunk light.
- Motion-Sensing Device
- Sends out sound waves above human hearing and is activated by any disturbance in the sound wave pattern. (Note: This alarm can and has been activated by vibrations of passing vehicles.)
- Mercury or Tilt Switch
- Placed in the car, this device detects any motion of the car. (Note: Cannot be used when parked on a hill, slope or other than flat ground.)
- Switch Lock
- A key-operated electrical switch which turns the alarm system on and off. If placed on the outside of the vehicle, it should be in an inaccessible location. A visible switch is an indication that the car is alarmed and may deter a thief.
Rv and trailer protection
- RVs are particularly susceptible to theft since they are usually loaded with items such as cameras, radios, tires, and sports equipment.
- The most common site for RV thefts is in the owner's driveway or backyard.
- Cover tempting items such as cameras, T.V.'s, radios and binoculars.
- Leave a low-voltage light burning and a radio on when you leave the RV at night.
- Pull curtains and blinds shut tight.
- Be sure to install good deadbolts and window locks.
- If your RV is normally left unattended, loop a case hardened steel chain around the RV's axle and a stationary object.
- Do not forget to secure the trailer's hitch.
If your car alarm should go off
- Observe behavior around your car
- Take description and license plate numbers
- Call 911
- DO NOT TAKE ACTION. Your safety is our main concern
The Fullerton Police Department