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    (Jaded One / Flickr)

    by: Josh Max, Aol Autos
     

    It takes less time for a professional thief to break into your car, start it up and drive away as it does for you to walk into 7-11, plunk down three bucks for a bagel and coffee and emerge to watch your ride recede into the distance. And don’t presume your elderly clunker’s immune; the most stolen vehicle of 2008, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, was the 1994 Honda Accord.

    “We know that thieves never miss an opportunity to make a quick buck by stealing a car,” says Joe Wehrle, president and CEO of NICB. “They work weekends, nights and holidays and ironically, they are particularly busy on New Year’s Day and Labor Day.”

    While there isn’t any way to stop a crook who really wants your ride and has the tools and know-how to make it happen, the following tips can help your car become a less inviting target and slow down, discourage or actually prevent car theft.

    Park in plain sight

    Holiday Car Theft

    HolidayNumber of Thefts
    New Year's Day3,017
    Labor Day2,847
    Halloween 2,727
    President's Day2,683
    Memorial Day2,599
    Independence Day2,584
    Valentine's Day2,389
    Christmas Eve1,841
    Thanksgiving1,806
    Christmas Day1,267
    New Year's Eve916

    The holidays ranked by number of thefts reported to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for 2008.

    Our natural inclination is to hide something we don’t want anyone to steal, but for cars, visibility is the key to safety, say experts. Thieves prefer to work out of sight of people and electronic recording devices, so leave your car in a well-lit, populated area.  

    Take your keys---always.
    If you think this tip falls into the “duh” section of car theft prevention, try Googling the phrase “keys in ignition” or similar and you’ll see many trusting souls leave the equivalent of a sign reading “FREE CAR!” hanging from their ignition switches on a daily basis.  Car theft is often a crime of opportunity, so shut yours off and pocket your keys even if you’re only ducking into a convenience store.

    Don’t hide your keys anywhere within or outside the car.
    You know those magnetic key holders you can buy to store your spare key?  Leave it in your house on the fridge, not under bumpers, in the glove compartment or anywhere in the car.  Thieves know all the hiding places you do, and probably a few more.

    Use a variety of methods to slow would-be thieves.
    Car alarms are ubiquitous and often go ignored. When used in tandem with other theft prevention methods, though, they will make a thief naturally try to work faster, and if he comes across other security measures, he may give up altogether and move on. Apply the emergency brake, turn your wheels hard left or right and set the car in “park” or in gear, making it more difficult for you to be quickly towed, and consider using a vehicle recovery system like LoJack or an engine immobilizer device such as Ravelco.  

    Disable your battery if parking long-term
    A thief won’t spend time trying to diagnose an apparent engine problem. Consider yanking one of the cable wires to your battery if you’re leaving your car parked at an airport or anywhere else where it will sit unattended for more than a few days.

    Sign valuable parts
    Take the time to embed your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the inside of your trunk, inside your doors, on your sound system components and any other pricey parts thieves like to chop.  If you don’t feel like doing it yourself, contact your local police precinct or even your insurance company, some of whom offer free VIN etchings.

    Go east
    California is the number one state for auto theft, according to the National Insurance Crime bureau, with the town of Modesto ranking #1 with 4,235 vehicles stolen in 2008.

    The good news for all of us is that auto thefts were down almost 9% overall in 2008, according to the NICB, to less than one million a year in 2008.  With foresight and preventive measures that don’t take much time, you can help ensure you’ll never have to experience that unique nausea familiar to anyone finding a grease spot where their car was parked. 

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    Discuss
    1 - 20 of 218 Comments
    davidstarr2 Mar 17, 2011 12:09 AM
    I was getting absolutely sick of paying over $3 at the pump. I decided to do some serious Googling in my quest for lower prices, I came across this unique buying club called MyGasDiscount.info, I immediately joined them for only $10 a month. Now when I fill up, I keep the receipt and mail it in to get a 50% rebate on the amount I spent for gas. Believe me an extra couple of hundred bucks a month gives my family our weekly trip to the movies again... or you can always buy more gas.. LOL. Here's the link http://www.mygasdiscount.info
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    davidstarr2 Mar 17, 2011 12:08 AM
    The most fun I have ever had is chaging that dumbass siren that nobody ever looks at or pays attention to, the new recording is out of the movie Short Circuit 2 -- number 5 plays stars and stripes forever and is telling people to look over here at the car thief and call the police. It is the funnist thing ever, and it does work! For fun I will set it off remotely and EVERYBODY looks right at it. Very effective.
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    demoncrat2024 Mar 10, 2011 7:26 AM
    Redundant Kill Switches including one dummy that when pressed kills the gas.
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    tamip79 Mar 09, 2011 8:54 PM
    Jvr1162, that idea would work to a point. if the perps DNA isnt in CODIS then it wouldnt matter. all they may get out of it is a cut in their behind or elsewhere.
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    onebaddude1968 Mar 09, 2011 12:49 PM
    They forgot the most important deterrent a set of 80 pound German Shepherds that like to go for car rides - I take mine and leave the windows down about an inch or two. I have even left the car RUNNING and here is a shock... NO ONE tries to steal it....lol.. I often watch from a distance and I was shocked at the number of people who actually walk completely around the car avoiding getting within 20 feet of it all together. I guess my security alarm works really good I tell people...LMAO.. Especially the 2 female shepherds I have, they are VERY territorial. (NO I do not leave them in the car all the time, but do take them when I am going to be gone for a few short hours, and in the summer I leave it running with the AC on to keep them cool - though I have had issues with the police called for animal cruelty NOT realizing they were actually COOL inside with the outside temp at or near 80 to 90). The police just shake their heads and leave when they realize what was going on, that the dogs were not only safe - but very comfortable as well!)
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    SmartMomsSave Mar 03, 2011 2:53 PM
    I like the tip, pull the battery cable or wire. I only wish I would of done this to my van, before it got stolen. I went inside a friends house to practice before a gig, and we even had the house window open too. As we jammed they stole my van right off Esplanade. I did get my van back, but not before they wrecked it, trashed it and got into a high speed chase with the cops. Not only did we find crack in it we also found a baby bootie so I guess the whole damn family took a ride and smoked crack. Don't ever think they won't steal a caravan. http://smartmomssavingmoney.blogspot.com/
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    NMcF123 Feb 27, 2011 3:52 PM
    Interesting article, but poor reporting. The article leads you to believe that there are more vehicles stolen on Holidays than on others, but if you divide 1,000,000 vehicles stolen per year by 365 days per year, you get 2740 vehicles stolen per day. Only 2 of the Holidays listed are higher than the daily average.
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    Klun73 Feb 03, 2011 1:07 AM
    I like the "leave your wife in the car" suggestion. Now that's a deterrent.
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    Jvr1162 Feb 02, 2011 9:23 PM
    Take the steering wheel with you.....................
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    Jvr1162 Feb 02, 2011 9:23 PM
    Leave your wife in the vehicle, they elsewhere.....................
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    Jvr1162 Feb 02, 2011 9:22 PM
    Acid in a pan on the front seat, oh well, burn baby burn...............
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    Jvr1162 Feb 02, 2011 9:21 PM
    Mace attached to steering wheel, touch/turn the wheel and the ******* get's a face full of mace.
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    Jvr1162 Feb 02, 2011 9:19 PM
    copper wire from vehicle to an outside eletric outlet, touch the vehicle and you get knocked on your ass.
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    Jvr1162 Feb 02, 2011 9:12 PM
    gREAT DNA EVIDENCE ( RAZOR WIRE, COVERED WITH A THIN CLOTH) left on the driver's seat the thief sits on the wire, cut his balls, leaving blood all over your seats for the cops.
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    winchestaheat Feb 01, 2011 1:57 PM
    randydallas1, I carry as well. Sure, it'll change the situation drastically if we were in direct sight of our cars, but it won't us do a bit of good if our cars are stolen while we aren't there.
    Report This
    randydallas1 Jan 29, 2011 1:02 PM
    i should be able to leave stuff in my personal vehicle with no worries about some thief taking them ,, but i carry a 50. cal dessert eagle , so what do i know ..
    Report This
    randydallas1 Jan 29, 2011 12:59 PM
    i am a firm , hard core gun toting son of a b#tch you want to take a chance on stealing my car i dare you ,, be warned tho the state of georgia allows for the use of deadly force and i will use it i dont and wont put an alarm in my car id much rather just shoot
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    HunterRonBon Jan 26, 2011 12:40 PM
    no matter what you do ,if they want your car it,s gone . the things in side the car simply dont leave them
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    littleterrer5 Jan 10, 2011 10:12 AM
    i have been reading all of these comments i know and have seen car thieves at work i am a mechanic i have repaired numours cars and trucks because of car thieves people on here talk about on star and the pass code device on late model cars? listen on star is a device it can be disconnected when the thief has ur car in a safe distance the engine imobilzer dont work you can clip a jumper wire on it an it will start your car? the cars with the resister in the keys? all thieves use is a ohm meter? thieves do there work at night when ur sleeping they have plenty of time to do what they want to do a professional thief will take the time and pay attention to ur daily routne thats were people make the mistake! no car car is potentially safe either way it goes you have to replace something wether its a window or a door or trunk lock or if they wreck it from runnin from the cops on thier joyride? dont depend on the options ur car came with thieves all ready thought of that the bar on the steering wheel dont work at all! the best method is park ur car in well lit areas? if u have a dog teach him to bark if he or she sees any stranger around your house? but the main thing is now the industry came out with a device that can b put on ur car and it alerts you threw your keyring button if any door on ur car is open that is the best method to keep a car thief away then u can shoot or thwart his progress it doesnt hve the red light thatt blinks and says (come steal me im factory alarm) no you need to be alerted the second it happens go head and put the sticker my car is protected by smith and wesson you can shoot at ur car while its driving away ?
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    mailgreener Jan 05, 2011 9:32 PM
    i met him via -----BlackWhiteF li rts.''''M------ it gives you a chance to make your life better and open oppor-tunities for you to meet the at-tractive sin gles and tr-eat you like a king or Q-ueen. Maybe you wanna check it out or tell your friends !!!
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    1 - 20 of 218 Comments
     
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    Please keep your comments relevant to the How To Screw Up A Car Thief's Day article.
    Important tips for avoiding car theft, especially around the holidays when car thieves are the most active.
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