(SWEETWATER, Texas) – A vehicle is stolen in the United States every 39 seconds, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
At Texas State Technical College, Automotive Technology students learn not only how to repair their vehicles, but also how to keep them from being broken into or stolen. July has been designated National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, and TSTC Automotive Technology instructor William Parker and some of his students recently offered tips on ways to prevent vehicle theft.
Parker said an installed anti-theft package is a good feature to look for when buying a vehicle.
“The anti-theft feature is located in your key, and it actually shakes hands with your ignition,” he said. “Even with a push-button start, you will need the key fob near the vehicle to actually make it start.”
If someone is attempting to steal your vehicle with the anti-theft system installed, any impact or movement will activate sensors, Parker said. The alarm system will then be triggered to alert the owner of a possible issue.
One of the best aspects of having the anti-theft system in your vehicle is that most insurance companies provide a discount for having it, Parker said.
Another way to prevent a vehicle from being stolen is by installing a “kill switch. Student Javier Perez said he has looked into having one installed in his vehicle.
“It is one of the best ways from having a vehicle stolen,” he said. “If you do not have anti-theft in your car, a kill switch will keep your vehicle from starting.”
There are different types of kill switches available to the public, and Perez said talking to an expert on which one to install in your vehicle is the best option.
Student Adrian Flores said the best way to prevent items within a vehicle from being stolen is by following one simple rule.
“Keep your vehicle empty at all times,” he said.
Clark said if there is something of value in the vehicle, motorists should use common sense.
“Keep the important things covered up,” he said. “How hard is it to throw something over the things you have in your vehicle?”
Student Ty England said he was a victim of items being stolen from his car and hopes people learn from the experience.
“Someone stole a lot of items from my truck. When I visit my family, I take all of the expensive things inside the house,” he said.
“I like to use all of the safety features available in my vehicle,” said student Jamand Clark. “I would tell people to make sure they use those features all the time. That is one of the best ways to prevent theft.”
Parker and the students said the NHTSA offers other valuable tips for protecting vehicles. These include parking in well-lit areas, having the doors locked at all times and windows rolled up, not leaving any keys inside, and not leaving the area while the engine is running.
Registration for the fall semester is currently underway. For more information, visit tstc.edu.