During the 80s and especially the 90s, car theft was very common. There weren’t as many cars as there are now. VIN switching of cars was relatively easy. Expensive radios and other parts were interesting objects for dismantling. Many of these reasons are no longer relevant, new reasons emerge.
The car as a scrapheap object
The main reason for theft of a car or some of its parts is the repair of crash cars. These are purchased by professional gangs and subsequently made ready to market with stolen parts. Particularly of interest are the car-front elements, the windscreen and the airbags. If the latter were activated, the crash car will be particularly cheap. Making a virtually free car fit for use is mainly a question of time and expertise. Even though audio systems are now so cheap that their theft is no longer rewarding, cars remain attractive as suppliers of car parts for crash cars.
Car alarm system only is insufficient
The newest trends of thieving gangs is very bold: well-trained and equipped teams of car part thieves can rob a car of all its profitable parts in a few minutes. The following morning the owner finds a boned carcass that was once his car. No GPS tracking or similar is of any use in this case. The parts are simply gone. Several solutions make theft impossible.
Retrofit solutions for older cars
The car alarm system is standard equipment in a car
|Luxury car manufacturers equip cars with an assistance system for theft detection. The system connects with a switchboard where the car can be disabled by remote connection, its position determined and the police alerted.|
|In mid-size and compact cars standard car alarm system is generally acoustic. Their effectivity is limited. Thieves often know how to disable the car alarm system before it is triggered.|
Therefore, the basic equipment of a car alarm system should include a GPS transmitter, either permanently active or transmitting when the alarm system is activated. Locating the stolen car is the only sure way of finding it. Retrofit solutions are ideal: the owner can determine for himself where the GPS transmitter should be hidden, making things considerably more complicated for thieves.
Retrofit alarm systems for every budget
The world of retrofit alarm systems starts with a cheap but otherwise useless device: the fake alarm. It is a nothing else but a box with a flashing LED light simulating an installed car alarm system. Against occasional thieves this might prove efficient. Professional gangs on the other hand are not deterred by this solution.
Its installation is very simple as the fake alarm has its own power supply with an integrated solar cell causing the LED lamp to flash reliably for years. It is simply attached with double-sided tape – finished.
Plug-in car alarm systems
Particularly simple and quickly installed are the alarm systems which can be plugged into the cigarette lighter. Contrary to the fake systems these actually have a deterring effect. They react on vibrations triggering the alarm. The owner is alerted via an SMS on his smartphone. These systems are available with integrated camera, enabling the owner to see who is tampering with his car. These cameras are only effective for a few seconds. Every car thief will remove the system immediately and throw it away. Also they react on vibrations. Some systems are triggered by every passing lorry, making these systems inconvenient.
High-grade retrofit solutions
A modern car alarm system has plenty of additional functions. The irritating, noisy systems of the past are nowadays hardly socially acceptable. A modern car alarm system reacts silently though effectively. The common extras a retrofit alarm system should be able to offer, are:
– interior surveillance with radar systems
– systems for preventive warning
– silent alarm for your mobile telephone
– surveillance with integrated camera
– GPS transmitter
– alerting a switchboard
Furthermore it must be installed in such a way, that it cannot be disabled or removed. Only expensive retrofit solutions offer this possibility. The listed additional options are available as separate modules. The more modules are installed, the more expensive the system becomes. Nowadays, retrofit alarm systems are connected via the CAN bus and require programming. Therefore they are not practical as a DIY solution. A professional alarm system should be installed by specialists. The starter kits with basic equipment costs ca. 300 euro (± £265) and are installed in 2 – 3 hours. The total investment is expected to amount to 500 euro (± £440). The good news: retrofit systems can be removed and installed in a new car.
Furthermore a high-grade and extensive alarm system enhances the value of a car. Therefore, if necessary you can leave it in the car when selling it and finance a new system with the proceeds.
Modules and their options
The interior security with radar sensors is available for convertibles as well as sedans or station cars. These react very reliably on relevant movements in the interior. A flying insect is not sufficient to trigger the radar sensor. As soon as a larger body moves in the interior, the system detects it and the car owner is alerted via his smartphone.
|The preventive warning system emits acoustic and optical signals when someone touches the car, warning: “Hands off, help is underway!” dissuading potential thieves.|
|Nowadays, a smartphone is an integral component of a security concept for a car, serving as localising instrument, monitor for the camera and evidently as signal receiver for the sensors of the car alarm system.|
|The camera technology offers different options. In part, the available cameras, like e.g. the reversing camera can be integrated in the alarm system. Cameras recording the driver are the only really effective units, providing potential evidence for catching gangs.|
|A GPS transmitter is the alpha and omega of every modern camera system, showing the position of the car. The transmitter has its own power supply and starts working when the car is put in motion. Even if a car is placed on a truck, the GPS transmitter will continue to transmit signals from its position. Retrofit GPS transmitter can be installed in such a way that they are not easily found.|
|Automatic alerting of an emergency switchboard is nowadays also available. Most brands have their own individual switchboards, independently alerting the police. The manufacturers in this market have become very accommodating.|
Inoculating parts to enable tracking
Since a few years there is the possibility of “inoculating” individual parts. They are sprayed with an invisible substance containing micro-particles. This inoculation is only visible under UV light. The micro-particles have a code, becoming visible under a microscope. The code corresponds with a car and his owner. It does not protect against theft, but can contribute to finding the perpetrator.
Foto: andriano.cz, MicrostockStudio, Ivan Kurmyshov, kesipun, cla78, Simon Bratt, Coolbefore, Mara Maurer, ProstoSvet, Poravute Siriphiroon, endlesssea2011, FabrikaSimf / shutterstock.com