“If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Car Thieves’ Modus Operandi

It is said that the best offense is a good defense. That is not only applicable in sports. You can also make use of this principle in preventing your car from getting stolen. By knowing how car thieves operate, you would know how to guard your car against them. I said in my previous blog that if it was me, and I was parking in a shady neighborhood I will not be averse to putting a wheel boot on my car. It is not a foolproof technique because given enough time, anyone can figure out how to disengage it, but it is a start.

Another thing that you can do is to park the vehicle where you can see it, or where others can. It is also sensible to park in places where there is ample security like in one of those commercial parking lots. If it were me, I wouldn’t mind paying for the time I’m gonna spend there. At least car thieves wouldn’t be able to duplicate my parking ticket. Another tip is to make sure that all your alarm systems are working. You can try engaging it and the bumping into parts like the bumper, wheels, doors, mirrors, window and hood and see if the alarm picks up. Be sure to keep your keys in hand so you can stop the alarm any time. You would not want angry neighbors to bark at you for being so noisy. Those six are usually the areas that thieves first inspect, and if just one of those do not sound off that is a sure indication that your alarm system or a part of it (that is, if you have one) is not working.

Well, I’ve run out of tips, so lemme’ give you a few which have been dug up online. I got this one from edmunds.com, a website that has been very helpful in the past when I bought one of my cars. In an article entitled, “Top 10 Ways to Steal a Car (and how to defend against them)” by Caroline Pardilla, the author presented the most common modus operandi of car thieves. The article featured tips on how to avoid being a victim, but I’ll present that in a different post so as to be a bit organized.

10 Ways to Steal a Car
  1. Bump against the car to check for a car alarm
  2. Break the window or jimmy the lock to gain entry into a locked car.
  3. Cut the steering wheel itself if there's a steering wheel lock.
  4. Look for exposed wiring that can be cut or for the central unit of the car alarm to deactivate it.
  5. Look for car alarm decals to figure out which method to use to eliminate the alarm.
  6. Jump into an unattended running car while the owner is at the ATM, dropping off videos, etc.
  7. Look for the car's title, registration or anything with a home address on it.
  8. Stake out sporting events, movie theaters and shopping center parking lots for the car of your choice since they offer the largest variety of cars in one area.
  9. Find the second set of keys the owner "hid" in the car.
  10. Copy specific vehicle information and take it to the manufacturer to get a replacement key made.
If ever you see someone doing any of those to your car, or any other car for that matter, you should immediately notify the police. If good judgment tells you that the police won’t make it in time and that the car will just end up getting stolen, then you can try and frighten the thief away. Don’t confront him. Just shout at him. Also get a good look at the face. That person will eventually get caught once you give the police the description. Once you know what to look out for, you will know what to do.