Home security expanded to address the increase in stolen cars
By: Richard Ginsburg, Alert 360, CEO
As a home security and business security company, we keep a close eye on crime trends. We also consider all threats to our customers’ property or valuables, including the family car or commercial fleets. While this past year has seen an upward trend in vehicle damage and theft, there are steps you can take to better secure your expensive vehicles.
A Concerning Increase in Vehicle Theft
Last year, almost 900,000 car thefts happened in the United States according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. That is an astonishing 9% increase compared to 2019. In addition, there has been a boom in quick and easy theft of car parts, such as catalytic converters. In some cities, such as Wichita, Kan., converter thefts tripled in 2020 according to a recent New York Times article, “Thieves Nationwide are Slithering Under Cars, Swiping Catalytic Converters.”
Likewise, in “Catalytic Converter Thefts Soar Along with the Price of Precious Metals,” CBS News reported an average of 1,200 catalytic converter thefts a month across the U.S. in 2020, up sharply from an average of about 280 the previous year.
When looking at ways to keep our vehicles safer, we should consider the underlying issues contributing to this increase in car thefts. You might have noticed that when you drive by most car dealerships the lots are unusually barren, with limited inventory. Some of the auto dealers I have visited recently appeared to be closed due to their lack of inventory.
The slowdown in manufacturing during the pandemic caused inventory to decrease in 2020. Also, the 2021 chip shortage has not helped. Thousands of cars are sitting across the country waiting for critical parts before they are moved to dealer inventory. The rise in commodity pricing is also making the catalytic converter on your car super valuable, and thieves know it! Adding to that is a tight inventory of used cars and an aging population of cars on the road, leading to the unfortunate increase in car thefts we are seeing. All of these factors create a lucrative stolen car and parts market for desperate thieves.
Security Tips for Preventing Vehicle Theft, Damage
So, how can you protect your vehicles during times like these? At Alert 360, we recommend the following tips to prevent your car from being stolen or damaged. These security steps can help protect family cars as well as critical commercial vehicles.
Always make sure your vehicle is parked in a well-lit area overnight or when at shopping malls.
Avoid parking your vehicle in your driveway or outside if possible.
Although it sounds like common sense, always lock your car, put up all windows and take your keys with you. This is critical even if you are just running in to get a coffee or drop off something.
Do not leave valuables like phones, tablets, purses, tools, etc., in your vehicle or in plain sight. These items are like a neon sign, inviting thieves to target your vehicle.
Use your smartphone to take a picture of your car registration and VIN number. Quick reporting of a stolen vehicle and having this information handy will aid police in tracking down your car.
Consider some of the latest vehicle security technology, such as the Alert 360 Connected Car. With Connected Car, you can track the GPS location of your vehicle within seconds. If your Connected Car device is removed (one of the first things thieves will try), you will be alerted that something is going on so that you can notify the police quickly.
Lastly, avoid storing important documents, spare keys, or a garage door opener in your glove compartment. We suggest taking photos of insurance or registration proof and keeping copies with you or on your phone. Thieves can use these documents to obtain your home address and target it next.
Easy-to-install Car Security Devices Can Help
Our solution to preventing car theft or damage, the Connected Car device, alerts you if your car is stolen, hit/moved, or needs maintenance. This security device also can integrate with your Alert 360 home security system to keep you aware and connected to happenings at home while on the road. However, the Connected Car option is available whether you are an Alert 360 home security customer or not.
Essentially the Connected Car communicates with you, even when your vehicle’s engine is off, about specific vehicle details. For example, the device will notify you if your car moves, indicating it may have been towed, crashed into, or stolen. It also can notify you if your check engine light is on or your or fuel or battery is low. If you have a teen driver, it can alert you to driving behavior, such as sudden acceleration, hard braking, and excessive speeding.
Increasing the security of your valuables shouldn’t be stressful, so we make installing the Connected Car device easy. It’s compatible with most cars manufactured since 1996. You can opt to plug the Connected Car device into your vehicle’s OBD-II port for easy self-installation. Or, you can visit one of Alert 360’s locations across the United States for assistance.
“With busy families of our own, the Alert 360 team understands how much time is spent on the road, in our valued family vehicles,” said Richard Ginsburg, CEO of Alert 360. “Our goal with the Connected Car device is to provide an easy way to integrate auto, home automation and home security – plus receive vehicle status reports – through this convenient new service and our free mobile app.”
“When we released the new Connected Car option in May, it was a natural extension of our award-winning home and business security services. The Alert 360 team will continue to develop new options for increasing security for our customers and making lives easier. The Connected Car, along with our recently released smart doorbell, are just a few examples of how we can help.”
(The Alert 360 Smart Video Doorbell 2.0 provides the latest in video analytics, more useful alerts, two-way audio, and 150-degree, HD viewing. This advanced doorbell is also an easy way to keep an additional eye on your vehicles and property.)
Easy Security Options for Home, Family, Work
Based on customers’ needs, we install wireless security systems; smart home automation devices, and professional-grade IP security cameras. We offer monitored smoke alarms; carbon monoxide detectors; glass break and motion sensors; water leak detection devices; keyless door lock entry; smart thermostats; remote garage door control, and smart lighting.
Additional options include medical alert pendants, and professional integration of home automation devices, including sprinkler systems, sound systems, Amazon Echo and Google Home.
With easy home and vehicle security options, you’ll be more likely to enjoy the carefree days of summer. Our award-winning local security teams are here to help. For more information about all of our security options or for a free home or business security consultation, contact us at Alert360.com or toll-free at 833-360-1595.