St. John car dealers give tips on avoiding getting your car broken into

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 21, 2006


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE-The rather dramatic 28% increase in auto thefts reported by the Sheriff’s Office last week may make you want to think harder about ensuring the safety of your vehicle.

Toni Edwards, Sales Manager at the Auto Zone in Laplace said, &#8220In the last six months we have seen close to a 30% increase in sales of anti-theft devices such as The Club and other alarm systems, I just ordered a shipment and they are going fast.

According to Edwards, the difference in car security device sales could be partially attributed to the post-Katrina population of the area and increased concern about auto theft. &#8220I urge everyone to lock their car doors and be careful,” she said.

Harley Harlan, Sales Manager of Rainbow Chevrolet Pontiac said that he hasn’t really seen evidence of more car thefts, but rather more vandalism at the dealership. &#8220We have had a few more problems with pebbles being shot at the cars or emblems being taken off vehicles, but nothing significant” Harlan said.

Harlan credits the lack of stolen vehicles to both lot security and GM’s reputation for equipping all its cars with anti-theft devices.

GM increases the number of anti-theft options and devices every year and as a result, they are a leader in anti-theft technology because it is already in place, said Harlan. &#8220 Most people put themselves in situations for having people take their cars, such as leaving keys where they can be found,” he explained.

&#8220Most of the GM cars have anti-theft devices already built into the ignitions, this keeps the fuel pump from being engaged. That prevents everybody but a professional who knows how to bypass computers from being able to steal the car, then they get it anyway,’ Harlan said.

However, installing any kind of security device will decrease the likelihood of a car being stolen.

&#8220Some other anti-theft features include encrypted keys, and a computerized chip on the key; Louisiana even offers a discount on auto insurance if you car is equipped with anti-theft features,” said Harlan.

Riverland Chrysler Dodge spokesperson Patrick Ferry said he has not seen an increase in attempted auto theft at their lot either.

&#8220Most of the Chrysler and Dodge models come with a security key chip that requires the chip inside the key to be activated to start the car, while a person may be able to open the door without the chip, since the chip is required for the engine to start,” said Ferry.

&#8220Some of the models, such as the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300’s come with GPS tracking devices,” Ferry said.

Some other anti-theft devices vendors offer are window etching of the VIN on cars, tire locks, steering wheel locks and random code generators that change every time you approach the vehicle.