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by Derek Beland
The Club is useless. Cut the steering wheel with bolt cutters and you're done. Since there's no attention-attracting devices involved, thieves don't even have to rush. They're also extremely inconvenient, and don't protect your stereo (if that's a concern for you) at all. All the action happens below the doorline, so no-one can even see the thief doing it.
Hear the story about the thief who stole the car and left the Club sitting in the parking spot?
All alarms sold these days have a flashing red LED that is supposed to be mounted in a very visible location. I'd say that's a pretty visible deterent. There is absolutely nothing that will prevent car thieves from breaking into/stealing your car if they are -good- enough and really -want- to.
It's all a numbers game. A car alarm with a visible indicator will deter, say (I'm making this up), 50% of would-be thieves. The real purpose of a car alarm is not to attract attention, but to make the thief paranoid (which they probably already are) and move on, or run the second the alarm goes off.
My friend's Rustang was broken into despite having an alarm. Know how? The people knew where to go for the siren. Protect your siren by mounting it in a totally inaccessible place, like somewhere down the firewall. Armor the wires with a solid piece of conduit.
Anticipate their mentality, and counter. How would you break into your own car?
A decent quality alarm will only run you about $200-250CDN these days, with starter kill.
My Alpine was $300 about 5 years ago. An added bonus are the trunk release etc. features that come with it. For added protection, you can disconnect the door handles and use the remote lock function to open the doors. A "kicker" can be had very cheaply that pops the door open for you at the same time it's unlocked. In a hatchback car like a G-body or L-body, it's not a big deal if the battery dies, you can always go in the hatch. Some insurance companies will give you a discount for having an alarm installed, some won't (mine doesn't).
Another (free) deterrent:
Park near a busy street. Avoid parking lots with no exposure to traffic. The second level of a parking structure is heaven to thieves, since there's little foot traffic and he can work uninterrupted. Even a car alarm is useless there, since who will hear it? When I go to the gym, I park in the farthest corner of the lot, right next to a major intersection and walk back to the mall. Not only does this deter thieves, but it avoids door dings.
I'm in the automotive security field. The FBI claimed that 80% of car thieves are pros, not joyriders. LoJack has found that about 72% of the vehicles recovered with LoJack have another anti-theft device on them. LoJack currently has a 90% plus recovery rate, 96% or more in CA and a typical recovery time of 2 hours with no damage.
The bottom line is, if a thief wants a car, they can take it (including newer - expensive models) or tow it away. The best device recovers the vehicle if its stolen. LoJack is currently in about 20 states and 20 countries.
The only real competitor to LoJack is a satellite tracking system. Despite being more accurate to pinpoint a location they:
Many cars are stolen for parts, which is why "plain" vehicles like the Accord, Camry, and Corolla are often taken. As for joyriders, GM's F-bodies went from being #1, #2, and #3 on the most-stolen list as soon as the company made an antitheft ignition (relying on a radio signal from the key) standard. Many people use an ignition cutoff (which you can buy for about $5 and install yourself) to avoid the "kids."
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