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Do you really believe your car is safe from burglars? Take a New Look

Do you really believe your car is safe from burglars? Take a New Look

Ask David J. of Stanford, Conn., whose 1998 Acura Integra Type R was stolen one month after he installed a top-of-the-line security system.

Throughout history, Mother's Day has been celebrated as a day to honour the mother who gave birth to a child.

"Mothering Sunday" is another early Mother's Day ritual that has had a lasting impact on how we honour our moms in the modern world. The tradition of spoiling one's mom on Mother's Day goes back to the 1600s in England. Traditional presents of flowers and cards are still widely used in contemporary American celebrations of the mother figure. However, if Mother's Day is really about expressing one's deepest feelings of thanks to a mother, then a token of appreciation should be a lasting reminder of how much they are loved.

The freshly fallen snow had left tyre marks in the snow.

"They discovered it three weeks later, completely devoid of any trace of human presence," he said.

James Cooper, CEO of Ultimate Security Systems Corporation, argues that David's experience is not unique. Cooper claims that, despite manufacturers' claims, most security systems are easily overpowered and can't even deter a skilled burglar.

every 25 seconds.

Every year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau claims that 1.1 million automobiles are stolen in America. More than $7.5 billion is spent annually on insurance claims by the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group. Organized vehicle theft rings dominate the business, which steals automobiles to fulfil contract orders. And it's not hard to see why: Insurers warn that a stolen $20,000 car may be dismantled and sold for $30,000 in parts.

In order to attract a burglar with a list of parts or orders for a certain make and model of automobile, your car doesn't have to be a high-performance vehicle like David J's Toyota Camry and Honda Accord models, which accounted for eight of the top ten most stolen vehicles in 2000, according to an annual assessment by CCC Information Services Inc., a Chicago-based provider of software and communications systems to auto insurance. Another two spots went to Chevrolet and Ford trucks, respectively.

A security system was missing from Brett Ploumen's 1992 Chevrolet Astrovan. Although it seemed to him that he was taking all the necessary safety measures by parking in well-lit locations with considerable traffic and locking the doors and windows of his car.

When Ploumen went out to eat with friends at a bustling neighbourhood strip mall in Santa Ana, Calif., he learned a different story. "The Astrovan was nowhere to be seen when we returned. In addition to the shattered windshield, there was a second car parked nearby, "Ploumen recollected,

A tarp had been placed over the body, and it had been there for three days, according to him. One could see that a large portion of the car's front end had been removed; it had been transformed into an old-fashioned trailer. "I felt ill in my stomach immediately," Ploumen added.

Some of the most popular gadgets

Cooper explains the flaws in several of the most common car security systems and how criminals are able to circumvent them:

Steering wheel bars and wheel locks are two common methods of preventing unauthorised access to the wheel and tyre assemblies of motor vehicles.

A pair of bolt cutters or a hacksaw is all that is needed to get past them. "I saw through the wheel, slipped the bar lock off and hot-wired the vehicle. Anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, depending on how fast you are, "Cooper made the statement.

The use of audible alarms, sometimes referred to as "nuisance alarms" in business, is meant to deter burglars.

Here's how to avoid them: Alarms that are audible are nearly always disregarded. A professional thief can cut a wire and quiet the alarm in a matter of minutes, as well.

Pedal locks: This mechanism prevents the brakes from being used.

Here's how to avoid them: 15-60 seconds is all it takes to connect or disconnect them.

In order to prevent the ignition from being bypassed and the car from being hot-wired, electronic immobilising devices are used. Both factory-installed and aftermarket options are available.

Here's how to avoid them: These devices can be dismantled or wired around in a matter of seconds by seasoned criminals, generally by severing two wires. Override or valet switches used by owners to disable the systems are also conveniently accessible.

Tracking systems: These gadgets provide a radio signal to locate the vehicle and may be used in conjunction with GPS.

Remove the tracking device at a chop shop before the theft is reported to remove it from the system. Alternatively, the automobile may be completely dismantled and discarded before the owner realises it's been taken away.

Immobilizer systems based on solenoids are distinct from most other electronic security devices in that they are designed to prevent the vehicle from starting in the event of an emergency. One such example is PowerLock. It avoids hot-wiring by permanently attaching to the vehicle's starting motor. It is difficult to delete, circumvent, or deactivate such a system once it has been set up.

Here's how to avoid them: Cooper is certain that it cannot be hot-wired. He argues that it's almost impossible to get around a system like this. To steal a vehicle that is protected by this kind of technology, the only option is to tow it away.

Protection of the Self

To be safe, Cooper advises customers to know the limits of their home security system. Many so-called security systems rely on remote access and flashing lights. Many individuals mistakenly believe that this is a safety feature for their car when, in fact, it is a convenience. "Personal security" is a term that some manufacturers are using to describe it.

In the wake of his terrifying ordeal, Ploumen has become an advocate for installing a vehicle security system. He recommends users look into an aftermarket security system. It's important to "find something you're comfortable with—and that has been demonstrated."

Since his vehicle was taken, Ploumen has spent a lot of time researching the security industry. A brake lock was briefly explored, but he determined it wasn't feasible. After a buddy recommended Ultimate Security Systems' Powerlock, he decided to use it.

After purchasing a new Acura Integra Type R, David J. also bought a Powerlock system. When I was searching online, I stumbled upon it. Considering how cheap it was, I figured, "Why not give it a shot?" Using brake and pedal locks and a tracking system, he increased security by three notches.

A few months later, David found himself in the same predicament as before. This time, though, he comes out on top. "Slim Jims" were used to pry open doors, bend the clutch pedal sideways to get through AutoLock, and break the ignition switch to hot wire the vehicle. As a last ditch attempt, PowerLock rolled the vehicle down a steep slope to release the clutch. That didn't work either, so they had to give up on the vehicle. Thanks to the tracking device, authorities were able to find the vehicle within a short period of time.

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