Top Five Reasons Why Your Vehicle Could Be A Target For Auto Crime

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Plus what you can do to protect yourself: ICBC

April 21, 2009 – April is Auto Crime Enforcement Month in British Columbia and it is important we all continue to help fight auto crime by properly protecting our vehicles. Here are ICBC’s top five reasons why your vehicle could be targeted by auto thieves and some simple tips on what you can do to prevent this from happening:

REASON: You’re an easy target.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF: Get immobilized.

The number one reason most vehicles are stolen is because they do not have an immobilizer. Car thieves are looking to get into your vehicle and to steal it quickly, with the least amount of hassle – and most can do this with just a screwdriver.

Immobilizers are the best way to prevent your vehicle from being stolen. Electronic immobilizers require a special key or small electronic device to start a vehicle’s engine. When someone tries to start your vehicle without this, the immobilizer shuts off one or more parts of the engine’s electrical system, such as the starter, ignition and/or fuel system. This makes your vehicle virtually impossible to steal.

Most passenger vehicles and light trucks built after September 2007 come equipped with an immobilizer, but you can have one installed in an earlier model. A good standard two-point immobilizer can be picked up and installed for as little as $160 – a small amount to invest given the overall value of your vehicle. It will also save you money in the long run. Customers who have a passive electronic immobilizer installed receive a discount on their comprehensive coverage and can receive a $100 rebate on their deductible at the time of any theft or attempted theft.

REASON: You’re not using a visual deterrent.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF: Keep it under lock.

Steering wheel locks, like The Club, are another good option to protect your vehicle. They cost as little as $15 and provide a stronger visual deterrent for auto thieves than an immobilizer. Just the sight of an anti-theft device inside a car will put off many thieves.

These types of anti-theft devices come in various forms, but the most common are steering wheel locking bars. Again, car thieves are looking for an easy vehicle to steal and will likely go for the one without any sign of an anti-theft device.

Whatever anti-theft device you purchase, make sure the product meets Canadian standards for automotive theft deterrents.

REASON: Location, location, location.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF: Choose secure areas that will make thieves think twice.

As with all of our tips, this is one that will make any auto thief think twice before stealing your vehicle. By parking in a safe and secure place, you will make it that bit harder for anyone to steal your vehicle.

Key places to avoid are parking behind fences or hedges, which give thieves cover from being seen. At home, consider having a motion-activated light in your driveway or, if you have an automatic gate to underground parking, wait for the gate to close behind you. When out with your vehicle, park in well-lit areas near pedestrian traffic.

Parkades can be a big problem area for auto thefts. Avoid parking in parkade areas with poor visibility where thieves will feel safe when breaking into your vehicle. When parking downtown, choose a parkade where you must pay on the way out. Car thieves don’t mind stealing your car, but they won’t pay for your parking and generally avoid these parking lots.

REASON: It’s not always your vehicle the thieves want.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF: Remove any visible contents from your vehicle.

Once you have protected your vehicle from being stolen, it’s important that you also do what you can to avoid being a victim of the other big auto crime threat – vehicle break-ins.

When thinking about what items to remove from your vehicle, start with the obvious – take your keys with you (and close your windows and lock your doors, even if you are only going to be away for just a few moments).

While it’s important to remove any valuables from your car, you should go a step further and remove everything from your vehicle – even bags with nothing valuable in them. Thieves will break your window, costing you your deductible, just to find out if you have anything of value to steal.

REASON: Auto thieves really like your vehicle.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF: Follow all of these key tips and look for more on icbc.com.

There are certain vehicles that auto thieves just know how to steal. If you own an older vehicle, it’s at a higher risk of being stolen or broken into.

Older vehicles often don’t have an effective anti-theft device and are easy to steal. That’s why the average age of a stolen vehicle in BC is about 11 years old. If you own one of the vehicles identified by ICBC as the most stolen in BC, then you need to follow all of these security tips and more.

The most stolen vehicles in BC are the Ford F-Series trucks. They are popular targets with auto thieves as they can be used to commit other crimes – their carrying capacity and power make them very appealing. Other top targets for auto thieves are the Honda Civic, Chrysler Caravan/Voyager, Honda Accord and the Jeep Cherokee.