Devices To Defeat Car Thieves In Los Angeles: Pro’s, Con’s And Locksmith Tips
Los Angeles is a car city, no doubt about it. If you’re like a typical Angeleno, your car is essential to your daily routine, getting you from home to work to restaurants, shows, the beach, your friend’s house, whatever. However, car theft is a huge problem in Los Angeles, much more than in other cities. According to the FBI, 30,000 cars are stolen every month, or one every 23 seconds! Hopefully you have a good automotive locksmith on hand to maintain you vehicle’s locks and security system.
The good news is, there are many devices available these days that will reinforce your car’s existing security, making it a much less tempting target for car thieves. In fact, there are so many that the choices can be overwhelming! Read this run-down of the most common devices and how they work, and make a choice for yourself.
The good: Alarms are great for scaring off anyone who messes with your car, as well as alerting nearby people that something’s up. Thieves want to work fast and unseen. If an alarm starts blaring, chances are that any would-be criminal will run for it rather than face the attention it attracts.
The bad: You’d hope that hearing an alarm would cue your neighbors to call the police or at least check out the situation, but in reality, people usually don’t do this. There are so many “false alarms” with these systems that many of us are conditioned to ignore them! (Of course, this isn’t an issue with silent alarms – see below.)
Which to buy: There are two basic types of car alarm: active and passive. Active alarms must be activated by the driver, while passive alarms switch on whenever the car is turned off and locked. Silent alarms – an alternative which can protect your car without annoying your neighbors – will alert your mobile device whenever the alarm is triggered. Viper, Python and Avital are three of the best reviewed car alarms of the past few years. Viper and Python are combination car alarms and starters which work with an app on your smartphone as well as with its own remote. Avital comes with a whole array of special features.
The good: These are the most inexpensive anti-theft options. They are also very conspicuous, so they warn thieves to stay away as soon as they look at your vehicle. Most of them are easy to use and work on any type of car.
The bad: They aren’t always effective against determined thieves and career criminals, and so most automotive locksmiths recommend you use them in conjunction with other security measures.
Which to buy: Some of the most common types of mechanical immobilizers are steering wheel locks like “The Club,” brake pedal locks and gear shifter locks. These usually range from $20-100. You can also get a hood lock to keep thieves from stealing your battery or other parts of the car.
The good: Many modern cars come with keys containing transponder chips that communicate with the vehicle’s computer. This means that the car will not start without the right key. Car thieves tend to leave these cars alone, since they can’t hotwire them or drive them off with a “bump” key. If you own a car like this, you already have an extra security measure without needing to do anything about it! Kill switches are another electronic option. These deactivate the car’s entire electronic system, making it very difficult for thieves to make off with it.
The bad: If you don’t have a car with transponder keys, you can’t add these chips to normal car keys. As for kill switches, you have to remember to disable it before you start your car.
Which to buy: You can buy cheap kill switches at AutoZone or any automobile supply store. Before you install one, make sure it doesn’t violate the terms of your car’s warranty.