How to Prevent Car Theft
Car theft is becoming a real problem in Ontario. With the advancements in technology and the value of vehicles being at an all time high there is an increasing number of reported car thefts. To make matters worse the bad guys are becoming more and more sophisticated. Thieves are now able to break into and steal a vehicle in under 30 seconds. We want to reduce the likelihood that you are a victim to car theft with our tips below.
Protect Your Keys
Vehicle keys have come a long way over the past several decades. Older vehicles may still require a key in the door handle to unlock and key in the ignition to start. Most vehicles can now be opened or unlocked through a remote key fob. Many vehicles can now also be started with the tough of a button. Keyless entry is becoming the new norm but it has made stealing your vehicle easier for thieves.
Key fobs use a signal that contacts your vehicles computer what to do. This signal, when in the appropriate proximity of the vehicle, tells the computer what to do (unlock the car, start the engine, pop the trunk, etc) and the car responds. Unfortunately the physical key fob is not the only tool that can be used to send those signals. Criminals are now using relay boxes to pick up signals emitted by a vehicle and your key fob. They can trigger the vehicle computer to unlock and even start the vehicle.
Keeping your keys in a safe place, whether they are older keys or new keyless entry fobs, is important to reduce the chance of your vehicle being stolen. Do not leave your keys in your car! If you have a key fob it is best to store them away from your vehicle or the front of your house (I know how inconvenient). If you want to go a step further you can store your keys in a faraday bag which isolates your fobs signal and prevents it from being copied.
Park in a Private Garage or Monitored Building
Obviously not everyone has access to a private garage or monitored parking lot or building. However, if you do have access to a garage it greatly reduces the likelihood of car theft. Not only does it ensure that your vehicle is out of sight, it adds another barrier that potential thieves have to figure out.
Use Motion Activated Outdoor Lights
If you are parking your vehicle in a driveway or on the street it can be very useful to install motion activated outdoor lights and park your vehicle within the lights range. Certainly these light can be triggered by many different things such as animals. However, if a would-be-thief is attempting to steal your vehicle and lights from outside your home are automatically turned on they may flee the scene in fear of being caught. If you are parking your vehicle on the street you may not have the option to have your own motion activated outdoor lights installed. If that is the case try and park your vehicle in a well-lit area or near street lights.
Install Security Cameras
Security cameras can be a good decision to install for many reasons. Not only are security cameras useful to protect your home, they can also be useful in protecting your vehicle. Visible cameras can deter potential criminals from committing a theft. If they do steal the vehicle it can be useful to provide this information to local authorities to try and recover the vehicle. Many security cameras can now also alert you in real time about suspicious activities through your smart phone.
Protect Your Smart Phone
This is how far the technology has come but now many vehicles have custom built apps that can be installed on a smart phone. These apps can be used to control your vehicle similar to a key fob but without the need for one. They can unlock them, start them, and more from anywhere with data or WiFi signals. Why is this important? If someone gets access to your phone or is able to hack into the operating system they can control your vehicle as well. You should always have a password to protect your device so if someone gets your phone they cannot operate it without the password or pin. Using face ID or finger prints is a further form of security.
Install a Tag Anti-Theft Device
Tag Anti-Theft Devices are used to quickly recover stolen vehicles. Several small Tag devices are placed throughout the vehicle in discreet places. The Tag solution does not use GPS coordinates for tracking your vehicle as they can easily be blocked by criminals. Instead they use a highly robust and secure communication protocol that communicates to their own centralized monitoring system. If your vehicle is stolen you contact the Tag team and they dispatch their own tracking team. Authorities must be notified separately. For more information visit: Tag Tracking.
Top Vehicles Stolen in Ontario
According to Aviva Insurance the top vehicles stolen in Ontario in the last year are:
- Ford F-150 series
- Ram 1500 series
- Honda CR-V series
- Toyota Highlander
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
- Lexus RX350
- Range Rover
Toronto and the GTA have become a hotspot for vehicle thefts. However, the most common car theft area in Canada is located in Montreal. Please be extra careful if travelling to Montreal in a vehicle (whether it is your own vehicle or a rental).
Car thefts are on the rise, but with these tips you can rest easy knowing the bad guys won’t be getting your vehicle. For the best protection make sure you contact a broker at McDougall Insurance & Financial for your auto insurance needs. Our experts will walk you through an auto insurance policy that will help protect you against car theft and much more! Get a quote today.