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Theft-proofing your car

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Cars are perhaps one of the most valued assets Filipinos have invested on. Having bought it from hard-earned money, owners would want to protect their autos as much as possible, especially since apart from natural calamities, cars are also vulnerable to theft.

According to reports, more than 5,000 carjacking incidents have been recorded in the country by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Highway Patrol Group in 2017. More than 700 of these cases happened in Metro Manila.

Moreover, cars do not need to be the latest model or belong in the luxurious line to be stolen. PNP have stated in previous reports that certain car models have been frequently carjacked because of their resale value and availability.

With car theft persistently remaining to be a rampant crime in the country, undertaking measures to secure your car from thieves is becoming more vital than ever. Apart from observing practical tips like parking your car on a safe and secured place at all times as well as keeping your doors always locked, installing anti-theft devices could help in preventing any misfortunes. These security devices not only secure your valued asset, but also spare you from bouts of anxiety and worry.

For example, car alarms activate during any sign of intrusion, window breaking, or even at the occurrence of loud noises. Although most cars have this feature already built-in, there are after-sales alarms for those cars that don’t have one. These alarms usually make deafening noises through a siren to alert the owner and draw attention to the thief.

Some car alarm brands in the market have additional convenient and sophisticated features such as keyless entry; remote starters; and smartphone integration, which allows the car owner to be notified in case the car is being broken into. Meanwhile, experts advise car owners to have it professionally done to avoid issues with your car’s electrical system because installing alarms can be complex in procedure.

In case thieves found a way to hotwire your car, steering wheel locks can serve as another line of defense to thwart the stealing. Inexpensive and easy to install even without professional help, these locks will render your car not driveable. Since these locks are made from steel, it would be difficult for thieves to cut, saw, or pry on it. Similarly, car owners can also opt for tire locks. Having one visibly installed can deter theft from happening.

Another useful device is the kill switch. Kill switch disrupts the flow of electricity at the battery or ignition switch, or disables the fuel pump — making it impossible to start the car. Installing one in a well-hidden spot can make it harder for thieves to pursue the crime. Some say that it is advisable to install several kill switches and assigning an order in which these devices should be flipped. Doing this adds a layer of protection to your car. However, it is recommended to have someone with enough knowledge on the car’s wiring system install the kill switches.

When all else fails, having a GPS (global positioning system) tracking device could come in handy in case you car gets stolen. This device gives car owners a real time location of their vehicle on any mobile device, which then could also be helpful to authorities upon responding to your case. Some of these tracking devices in the market now have improved and exceptional features that make it more valuable and desirable equipment for one’s car.

Apart from its  accurate GPS positioning capability, some devices include ignition detection that allows a car owner to prevent a thief by remotely shutting down the engine using a smartphone. Some even have an SOS button to send out vehicle location when in need of assistance during emergencies.

Some of the leading electronic tracking options in the market have indicated high percentage of return rates on stolen vehicles — proving that having one can be reliable tool in times of dire need.

Apart from protecting your car from possible stealing, installing security devices have other benefits as well. Some insurance companies offer discounts when vehicles are equipped with certain safety features. Meanwhile, whatever security device you have chosen to install on your car, experts say it is best to figure out first all its features for you to be able to maximize it to its fullest potential.

While these devices are worthy to invest on to help prevent cars from being stolen, authorities also advise owners to be vigilant of how thieves operate, especially since thieves can forcibly take your car while you are driving on the road. Authorities also encourage citizens to always report should they spot any suspicious activity; or to file a case if victimized. — Romsanne R. Ortiguero