Is your auto theft security system effective enough?
On the morning when my car was broken into, I did not hear the familiar tones of my car alarm system.
This is an absolute mystery, as I thought that the whole purpose for having an alarm is for it to sound when the vehicle has been entered. The police officer who informed me of the break-in, asked me if the car was locked and secured the last time that it was used.
I promptly replied that Yes, my car was locked and armed. It was armed by clicking twice on my key fob. My car was parked within ear shot of my home. So, why did I not hear it?
Let’s take a closer look into these phenomena to understand what happened and see what further measures we can take to reduce the likelihood of such an event from occurring again.
Type of Side Windows
Up on further inspection of the damage to my car, it was evident that the car thief used a center punch to smash the front passenger side window. But he was unsuccessful, due to this window being laminated. The outcome of his efforts merely cracked the glass in-lieu of it shattering, as did the rear passenger window.
The rear window was tempered and shattered into a million pieces, dispersed on the rear car seat and foot well.
Clearly, there were no sensors that detected the window breakage, such as shock sensors or window pads.
The car thief pulled the locking pin to open the front passenger side door, and again the car alarm system still remained dormant. He then opened the glove compartment and center console, looking for valuables but did not find any treasure, thus leaving my car with all the remnants laying on the passenger seat.
The lamination is PolyVinyl Butyral (PVB) – that is the glue that hold the glass together when fractured. The rear door glass is single-ply, tempered glass and is deployed in this instance, because there is less potential of a human being harmed in an event of a collision.
Can Existing Auto Alarms be Modified?
Depending on the number of ports on a modern car alarm system, it may be possible to extend your current system with additional sensors pending on the manufacturer. If there is no room for expansion, then an upgraded car alarm system would be the next best thing.
With other alternative systems that are readily available, such as remote ignition blocking and stolen auto radio tracking, having a vehicle merely sound to attract one’s attention is not enough anymore.
Let us take a closer look at remote ignition blocking and LoJack.
Remote ignition blocking is a system that deploys a Global Positioning System (GPS) to trace a stolen vehicle and then immobilizes its starter. This can only occur when the owner’s reports the vehicle as stolen and the appropriate authorities acknowledges the request and then operates the remote ignition block. General Motors use the OnStar Subscription service which carries out the above.
LoJack is a system that instead of using GPS to track the stolen vehicle, uses radio signals to an installed transceiver. The LoJack unit and the stolen vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is mapped to a National Law Enforcement database.
This database covers all branches of law enforcement, such as local, state and federal branches. Therefore, in the event of your vehicle reported stolen, an all points bulletin is broadcasted to all law enforcement police cars and helicopters to be on the look out for your vehicle.
Another great advantage for having LoJack installed is that you can save up to 35% of your auto insurance.
My Recommendations for Immobilizing and Tracking Your Vehicle
The following devices are my suggested recommendations:
Over the past two decades, OnStar is primarily proprietary to General Motor cars and trucks. However, there is an alternative subscription service which is an equivalent to OnStar. The manufacturer is Verizon and the product known as the Hum, is considerably less expensive than its counterpart, costing a mere $10 per month juxta posed to paying up to $35, respectively.
In the event of your vehicle being stolen, the Hum app when downloaded to your smartphone has access to its own dispatch center; therefore, in turn pin-pointing your car’s position and relaying data directly to law enforcement. With this data, law enforcement will be able to detect whether your vehicle is parked or in transit.
There are two versions of the LoJack product:
- Stolen Vehicle Recovery System with Early Warning – This is where your smartphone app renders a notification that your vehicle has been entered and possibly being driven without your key present. The one-off cost for this implementation is $900+
- Stolen Vehicle Recovery System without Early Warning – The one-off cost for this implementation is $600+
The Verdict – The Jury is IN…
With going through all the above possibilities to protect your vehicle, it can be said that it is not enough to just have a standard car alarm anymore. Usually, within our must have features when buying our vehicles, somewhere at the top of the list must be its security.
With the car thief becoming cleverer at his craft, the following essential features must be considered:
- Standard Auto Theft Security – Usually, some sort of alarm. But nowadays, a lot of people tend to “ignore” a blaring sound going off.
- Having a remote ignition block device is a sure way to go to supplement your vehicle’s security. However, the only trade off is the monthly/yearly subscription fee.
- Having a LoJack device is definitely a no-brainer for supplementing your vehicle’s security system. There is only a one off payment for the supply and installation of this unit to your vehicle.
Even with these above supplements which has become part of our prized possessions’ furniture, all roads seem to lead back to having a hidden dash camera installed for extra measure in fighting back against the car thief.