In the last month, there have been 177 vehicle thefts in the Greater Columbia, SC area – 177! So, what can we do to prevent our vehicles from being stolen?

 Numbers as high as 177 cars and trucks stolen in just a 30 day period are hard to believe. Granted, this number is down by over 100 from the same period last year, 177 is still 177. In most cases, vehicles are being stolen from homes or apartments at a rate of 45% rather than other public places. Some eye opening statistics if you ask me.

But here’s the real question. With as much as people love and depend on their cars, are they really willing to go the extra mile to prevent them from being stolen? I’m not sure.

Let’s look at some of the things people can do to reduce their chances of becoming a victim. First you have the obvious things. Keep your car locked, keep it in a well lit area, don’t leave the keys in it, and don’t think you can hide a key somewhere on the exterior. Car thieves know where to look. But, what are some other measures you can take?

Here are a few things you can do. No one said these are sexy, but they are pretty effective. And, they may even save you some money on your car insurance.

  • Buy cars with vehicle immobilizers built in or have an aftermarket one installed. There are many affordable options on Amazon. We’re talking less than $50.
  • Remember The Club steering wheel lock? Well, they still exist. As a matter of fact, there are many options in this category and they are all under $50. You can find them all on Amazon. Sexy? No. Effective? Yes.
  • This one’s a no-brainer. Don’t leave your vehicle running out of “convenience” when you dash into the convenience store to grab something real quick. I have watched video after video of cars being stolen because the owner did this very thing. I have also watched video of them just stealing stuff out of vehicles like this.

Here is one thing you can do to get your car back quickly should it still get stolen even after taking precautions like mentioned above. Install a vehicle tracking device. There are a couple that I prefer over most. One of them is the DASH T11 from TrakmateGPS for $80. The other is the Mini Pro LTE 4G GPS Tracker also by TrackmateGPS for $40. Both are available on Amazon. LoJack is also still a very effective option for vehicle tracking.

I like these because they DO NOT plug into the vehicle’s OBD port. A thief is going to be smart enough to check the OBD port and unplug any device that is plugged in there.

Reducing the risk of your vehicle being stolen is not all that hard. It’s not very expensive either. Are all these options fool proof? No, but they may help. And, with the use of a tracking device, you’d be able to tell the police exactly where your vehicle is right after it was stolen. Talk about gratifying. It really all boils down to how far you’re really willing to go to prevent your car from being stolen.

Be safe,
Joe Shahoud

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Joe Shahoud is the owner and lead instructor at Safe Family Defense LLC, a firearms training academy that serves the greater Columbia, SC area specializing in pistol, concealed weapons permits, and general education in personal safety. 

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