We here at theFordStory.com know the feeling, because it’s happened to us. You head out to begin your day like normal, walk to where your car should be and…a window has been busted and thieves have stolen whatever contents you had, even if it was a gym bag you left in the backseat that to their disappointment will be a score of only stinky clothes. Or worse, you walk to where your car should be and…it’s gone.
On the upside, the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report revealed we currently have the upperhand over the bad guys; there was a 7.2 percent decrease in auto thefts in 2010. Thankfully, vehicle owners are getting smarter, no longer leaving keys inside or the doors unlocked and the vehicle unattended.
When it comes to safety technology for the vehicle, Ford continues to be one step ahead of the thieves, too. While no system is foolproof, a deterrent is sometimes all it takes. “The biggest advancement that we’ve had was the electronic immobilizers that are built into the keys; it pretty much eliminates the possibility of hot wiring the vehicles. It’s a little electronic chip that has encryption, so it’s very hard to get around,” Mark Zielinski, Supervisor of Security and Radio Frequency Products at Ford said. Additionally, the available Ford Passive Entry-Passive Start allows for unlocking and engine starting remotely, while the available Intrusion Sensing System deters against smash-and-grab thefts. The Perimeter Alarm System deters against unauthorized entry via the doors, hood and trunk/liftgate.
Ford dealers also offer Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching on windows and other surfaces, making vehicles less attractive to thieves because all windows must be replaced before the vehicle can be tagged with a fake VIN and resold. You can also install wheel locks, which help protect against wheel theft by requiring a special key to remove all of the lug nuts, plus you can add LoJack, the vehicle tracking system that helps police locate and recover vehicles.
There are also basic, simple steps you can take that aren’t about technology: Take your keys, never leaving them inside or on the vehicle (and don’t leave the vehicle running without being there). Always close and lock all windows when you park, which, by the way, should always be in areas with good lighting. If you’ve got a garage, park your vehicle in there. And of course, never leave valuables where they can be seen (or in the vehicle at all).
Finally, if you have information on an auto theft crime, first report it to police and then see if there is a theft prevention program like Michigan’s Help Eliminate Auto Thefts program (1-800-242-HEAT), which offers potential cash rewards for information on auto theft crimes.