Think Your ‘Old Clunker’ is Immune to Auto Theft? Guess Again!

What do a 1995 Honda Civic, a 1991 Honda Accord, and a 1989 Toyota Camry have in common with a 1997 Ford F-150 and a 1994 Chevy C/K 1500 pickup? You guessed correctly if you said they all top the list for the most stolen cars in the US over the last two years! Surprisingly, auto thieves do not typically target the new cars with all the bells and whistles, instead preferring the somewhat more innocuous and less visible older car. The reason thieves target older vehicles are varied:

  • These vehicles provide the best market for parts resale.
  • Older cars do not have the newest security features and therefore it’s easier to circumvent security.
  • There are a greater number of older cars on the road; their theft is less conspicuous and less expected.
  • Drivers become more complacent as their cars age, and are more likely to leave cars open and unprotected.

According to a 2006 NICB statistic, a car is stolen every 26.4 seconds. Though auto theft is on the decline overall, current economic conditions suggest crime rates are expected to soar in coming months as people become more desperate. In addition, even though auto theft has been on the decline, it still represents the most expensive form of property crime in the US today.

The NICB offers the idea of “layered protection” for your vehicle. Thieves will steal whatever they can if given sufficient time, so the idea is to fortify your car with as many “layers” as you can and within the scope of your budget. The more layers of protection you add, the more difficult your car will be to steal since thieves will be more likely to move on to an easier target.

1. Common Sense - On cold winter days, nearly every one of us has been guilty of leaving the car running with the doors unlocked as we run back into the house for a forgotten item. And during the hot summer months, who doesn’t leave their windows open slightly in order to keep the car cooler? Thieves pick up on these visual cues and recognize when your car is most vulnerable. Since it takes an experienced car thief only about a minute to gain access to your car, they will be in and out before you know it. Always lock doors, close windows, and remove keys and valuables from your car. No matter how quick the trip.

2. Warning Device – Visual cues are important to preventing theft. Don’t keep thieves guessing; let them know you have anti-theft devices installed to deter the theft and vandalism of your vehicle. Car alarms are the most obvious audible cue, however steering column locks (clubs), decals, and identification stickers that are visibly located are all clues to a thief that your car is going to require a great deal of work to steal.

3. Security Films - Once a thief is in your vehicle – even if they cannot steal it – they can do a lot of damage. It’s therefore imperative to stop them from ever getting in by installing security window films such as VehicleGARD that make the glass harder to break. Even after several forceful blows, the criminal will likely abandon any attempt and move on because they will simply be creating too much attention-getting noise. The key is to keep intruders out in the first place.

4. Immobilizers – Kill switches and smart keys prevent thieves from hot wiring your car in the event they do gain access to your vehicle. Though typically costly, some insurance companies offer a reduction in insurance rates for those who install immobilizers.

5. Tracking Device – If you have followed all of the previous suggestions, it will be very unlikely your car will even be a target, let alone actually stolen. Tracking devices are a last resort that help recover your stolen vehicle.

Jordan Frankel, commonly known as The Security Sensei develops revolutionary security products and solutions that protect both lives & property. Countless agencies and corporations such as NASDAQ, the US Military, and law enforcement entrust Mr. Frankel with their security and safety. Jordan Frankel is also frequent media guest addressing the personal and financial consequences associated with home invasions, burglaries and other serious threats. In addition, Mr. Frankel's security products & inventions have been featured on Oprah, FOX news and in countless publications. Jordan's ability to outsmart the proverbial bad guys - coupled with his commitment to making security an affordable reality for everyone is the key to Global Security Experts Inc success. Mr. Frankel (The Security Sensei) is available for media interviews by appointment only.

Mr. Frankel is a proud member of:

The American Society for Industrial Security.

The International Association for Counter Terrorism & Security.

The Society of Professional Locksmiths.