Cars have made big technological leaps over the years, making them harder to steal. However, the thieves have kept up and so should you!
You put a lot of research into choosing the right car and even shortlisting the right variant. In fact, many of us seek advice for choosing the right colour. But how much attention have you really paid to car security? It takes just hours for a car to go from stolen to spare parts, but preventing this from happening isn’t as complicated as you may think it is.
Here are 5 simple ways to prevent your car from being stolen.
This one seems obvious but is probably the most effective in deterring thieves in the first place. Many of us either have our cars parked within our compounds or in a dedicated spot in our apartment complex but several car owners have to opt for street parking. There are thousands of residential buildings that were built in an era where car ownership was a rarity and hence, arrangements for parking spots were never made.
Whatever the case may be, always choose a spot that is easily visible, well lit and in the line of sight of surrounding homes if not your own. The odds of someone having their eye on your car (among others) is higher, thereby making it riskier for a thief to act.
Public & Private CCTVs
Almost every residential building has a CCTV camera and modern-day systems provide excellent quality footage to identify any cars or people. It’s advisable to install a CCTV even if you park your car in a private compound with a locked gate. Prices start at Rs 2,000 for an individual camera and hover around Rs 15,000-Rs 18,000 for multi-camera setups.
If you have a security system installed, it’s best to park your car in a location where it’s visible to the camera, as you can still fall into a blind spot, beating the purpose of a security camera. Also, while a lot of places have CCTVs installed, one must ensure that the footage is being recorded and stored correctly too. Most streets in cities have CCTV cameras installed and monitored by the police so even if you can’t park your car in a private space, keep an eye out for these cameras and choose your spot accordingly.
Steering Lock/Gear Lock
Steering lock and gear lock are basic but time tested solutions that don’t require any electronic wizardry to work. Essentially, these are hard to break rod/clamp and lock systems that prevent or limit the movement of the gear lever or steering wheel, making it very difficult to steal the car even if you manage to break into/start the car.
Steering locks are the easiest to use since they do not require permanent mounts to be installed and can be tucked away quite easily. The setups come with either a key or can be locked using passcode as well. The options are plenty and a durable lock can be yours for around Rs 2,000.
Vehicle GPS Trackers
GPS trackers may have been complicated and expensive in their early stages but that’s no longer the case. For as little as Rs 4000 - Rs 6000, you can get a good quality vehicle GPS tracking system installed in your car. These setups do not require any modifications or wire tampering but keep you connected with your car and send you real time alerts about your car’s well being instantly. This includes tracking your car’s current location if it has been stolen. The authorities can be informed immediately and your car can be tracked down in minutes.
Additionally, more premium systems share in-depth information about your vehicle’s activities and usage. With systems like this you can access real time information about your car’s movement, even if it’s driven by your driver or someone else from the family. Such systems come with live trackers and are especially a must have for fleet owners.
Finally, there’s the good old fashioned car alarm that you can have installed. Alarm systems are either loudspeaker based or are combined with the headlights and/or hazard lights to attract attention to a car that’s potentially being broken into. Modern day alarm systems also come with phone integration so you can get app/SMS notifications if there’s any foul play with your car.
However, the effectiveness of car alarms is limited. It certainly does grab attention but many studies indicate that onlookers tend to ignore active car alarms. The utility lies in the owner themselves being aware that the alarm has gone off because anyone else is unlikely to act on it.
The reason? Too many car alarms go off accidentally and people simply assume something’s malfunctioning. We’re all too familiar with car alarms that go off even when there’s no one anywhere near the car! So, theoretically, a thief could break into your car and simply pretend to be an annoyed owner trying to get the alarm to stop without anyone suspecting anything. It’s a useful tool but certainly not the most effective.
Modern day cars come with connected car technology that integrate many security features under one umbrella. However, even if your car is old, it is a valuable asset that deserves to be secure and these simple practices/tools help ensure it.
Finally, a strong comprehensive insurance policy is the best way to mitigate damages. On the chance that your car is stolen, at least you can be compensated for the loss monetarily. Insurance may seem like an avoidable expense since you don’t get the return on investment regularly but all it takes is one incident/accident to truly make you realize how valuable it is.