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The Best Car Theft Deterrent Devices

Burglar with a covered face and gloves peeks through passenger's window of a parked car.

In 2019, some $6.4 billion was lost to motor vehicle thefts as 721,885 vehicles were reported stolen. Despite those alarming numbers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports, it also shows that vehicle thefts have been trending downward in the 26 years since they peaked at 1.7 million in 1991.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau credits the creation of specific anti-theft programs and technology, along with law enforcement efforts and auto insurance company-supported organizations such as the NICB for contributing to the theft reduction.

Aside from using common sense practices, like locking your doors and parking in well lit areas, there are many devices and technology available to help deter thieves from stealing your car or it’s parts.

Visible & Audible Deterrents

If a thief can see they won’t  get anywhere with your car, they are less likely to even try. Visible deterrents include things like steering column collars, steering wheel/brake pedal lock, brake locks, wheel locks, theft deterrent decals, identification markers in or on your vehicle, window etching, and micro dot marking.

Wheel locks are classic tools that work. They attach to the steering wheel of your car to keep it from turning and can be extended to fit most steering wheels. You simply use the accompanying key to unlock the device when you’re ready to drive.

Glass etching is a simple process you can actually do at home or have done by the dealership before you take possession of a car. It is simply the etching of the VIN number of your car onto a corner of every window, windshield, and other piece of glass on the car. If any of the glass is removed or the glass is disassembled, it’s still possible to track the car and determine the thief.

Audible deterrents, like car alarms, can also help keep criminals at bay. They’ve also gotten better than they used to be. For example, the top rated Viper Color OLED 2-Way Security + Remote Start System will sound an alarm and alert you with a report to your device that will identify by name the active zone and display a special icon in the Status Screen.

Smart Deterrents

Kill switches, such as starter, ignition and fuel disablers, are some of the latest ways to deter thieves. With a kill switch, the car will not start unless a hidden switch is activated, disrupting the flow of electricity at the battery or ignition switch or disabling the fuel pump.

Wireless ignition authentication technology is another great option for preventing thieves from getting away with your vehicle. These tools look like key fobs or wallet tabs that have transmitters which are used to activate electricity to the ignition. Similarly, smart keys contain radio frequencies or coded computer chips to make sure that your car will only start with that one specific key. Reader’s Digest recommends the EASYGUARD EC003N-K Car Alarm System.

Tracking System

The next level in anti-theft devices is with a tracking system. This technology emits a signal to the police or monitoring service when your vehicle is reported stolen. Some systems employ “telematics” which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked by computer. Best Buy recommends the Spytec GL300 GPS Tracker, which provides you real-time location data and in-depth reporting through an app on your smartphone.

Alternatively, you could try just tricking would-be thieves with a Anti-Theft Car Vehicle Sticker with GPS Tracking Warning. Just $8 for a pack of six!

Anti-theft Tips

Along with the devices listed above, it’s important to employ some techniques and tips for keeping your car, your possessions, and yourself, safe.

  • Always have your car locked, even while driving.
  • Never leave your keys in the car when parked.
  • Always close your windows, including the sunroof.
  • Do not leave your car running unattended.
  • Avoid leaving valuables inside your vehicle where passersby can see them, including the car’s title.

Our insurance experts at Freeway Insurance are here to answer your questions about how to help keep your car safe and your rates low. Freeway Insurance offers discounts for etched windows as well as many other good driving habits and security features. Call us today at 800-777-5620 for a free quote or request a car insurance quote online.

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