Consumer Reports Recommended Anti-Theft Protection for Your Car, Plus a Toyota Tundra Crazy Theft Story and How It Happened
Car Thefts Are Up
The NCIB reports that in spite of a two-year decline in auto thefts prior to last year, their most recent data shows a dramatic leap upward in 2020 with 873,080 auto thefts---a boost of more than 73,000 thefts.
“Preliminary reports indicate a sharp increase in automobile thefts for 2020,” said NICB President and CEO David Glawe. “All indications are 2020 will be the largest theft year in the past decade by a significant margin.”
“Considerations such as the pandemic, economic downturn, loss of juvenile outreach programs and public safety budgetary and resource limitations are likely contributing factors. Thieves exploit opportunities and may look for vehicles parked in the same location or citizens not taking proper measures to secure their vehicles,” stated Glawe.
In fact, the reasons given in the last sentence of his statement are what Consumer Reports points to in that much of the problem lies with “…older models without anti-theft technology and cars with keys or fobs left inside."
Car Theft Protection
Earlier we had learned how easy it is to pick the lock on a Ford Explorer due to a commercially available lock picking device that is as simple as squeezing a trigger. What is just as simple to do, however, is to take a few commonsense measures to lower the risk of your car being stolen.
That said, here is a brief summary of some recommendations by car experts from Consumer Reports on the least you should do to protect your car:
Tip #1: Practice Smart Parking
• Never leave your unattended vehicle unlocked or running.
• Park in busy, well-lit areas.
• Double-check that you have the key or fob.
• Stow valuables out of sight to discourage smash-and-grab thefts.
• Never leave your keys in the car or garage.
Tip #2: Add a Lock and an Alarm System
• Display visible deterrents such as steering wheel locks.
• Add a low-cost aftermarket alarm system yourself, which often includes a visible blinking red light and/or annoying alarm.
• Consider hiring an auto security company to do an installation that typically costs $300 to $700 for the system plus another $200 to $600 for professional installation---depending on features and the system.
Tip #3: Install Simple Electronics at Home
• Motion detection lights are a simple and inexpensive deterrent that can startle a would-be thief and alert those at home.
• Car too far away from the lights, how about trying a lawn hose sprinkler sensor for deer to deter someone from getting too close to your car at night.
Tip #4: Track Your Car
• Consider buying an aftermarket tracking system that can help police locate your car after it has been stolen.
• Some recent car models provide theft tracking through a monthly subscription-based services.
• Doorbell cameras, such as Google Nest Hello and Ring, can help police identify suspects.
Whichever measures you use, the important point to keep in mind is that often a crime of theft is committed solely because an opportunity presents itself. By demonstrating even in a small way that you are aware; or, by instituting a measure that makes a car theft less convenient, you have already decreased your chances significantly from ever becoming part of a crime statistic.
For your enjoyment, here is a crazy theft story from our favorite Toyota Maintenance mechanic who points out how many older model used cars are stolen:
Toyota Tundra with Crazy Theft Story
If you have ever had your car stolen or attempted stolen and failed, please let us know in the comments section below about it so that others can enjoy your story and learn a little more about taking care of their car.
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Timothy Boyer is Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily automotive repair and maintenance news.