The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has designated July as National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, which is fitting since vehicle theft peaks during summer months.
To view a NHTSA video offering five common-sense tips for preventing vehicle theft, click on the image or link above.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau recommends these four “layers of protection” to guard against vehicle theft:
Common Sense — The common-sense approach to protection is the easiest and most cost-effective way to thwart would-be thieves. You should always:
- Remove your keys from the ignition
- Lock your doors /close your windows
- Park in a well-lighted area
Warning Device — The second layer of protection is a visible or audible device that alerts thieves that the vehicle is protected. Popular devices include:
- Audible alarms
- Steering column collars
- Steering wheel/brake pedal lock
- Brake locks
- Wheel locks
- Theft deterrent decals
- Identification markers in or on the vehicle
- VIN etching
- Micro dot marking
Immobilizing Device — The third layer of protection is a device that prevents thieves from bypassing the ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some electronic devices have computer chips in ignition keys. Other devices inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine until a hidden switch or button is activated. Some examples are:
- Smart keys
- Fuse cut-offs
- Kill switches
- Starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers
- Wireless ignition authentication
Tracking Device — The final layer of protection is a tracking device that emits a signal to police or a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. 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 via computer.