Do Car Alarms Deter Crime or Only Serve as an Annoyance?

Posted on June 14, 2017 by Jaece Hogue

We’ve all experienced this common scenario.  You and your family have finally snuggled safely into your beds for the night.  Maybe that new baby has actually managed to fall asleep for once.  Perhaps you have a major presentation at the office in the morning and you just can’t wait to get a good night of rest and rejuvenation.  You close your eyes, settle deeper into the fluffy mattress and finally begin to doze off…and then…WAAAIIILLL…the sound of a car alarm wakes you, your spouse, the baby and the neighbors pint sized excuse for a dog.

If this situation sounds familiar enough, you also have probably rarely left the comfort of your cozy bed to investigate what triggered the alarm in the first place.  Does this mean that car alarms aren’t effective or that you shouldn’t worry about purchasing, installing or maintaining them on your vehicle?  Read on to discover whether our anecdotal tale has any real life statistics when it comes to car alarms and deterring crime.

By the Numbers

When it comes to ignoring car alarms, you aren’t alone.  And as it turns out, most of the time you’d be right to put the pillow over your ears and go back to sleep.  A study conducted in the 1990’s concluded that between 95-99% of all triggered car alarms were false.  It would make sense, then, that 99% of triggered car alarms are not followed up on (we hope we made you feel better that you weren’t the only one).  Few studies have been conducted on deterrence given the understandably reluctant nature of thieves to discuss their preferences, but research suggests that cars with alarms are only slightly less likely to be stolen than those without.

What Does Law Enforcement Have to Say?

While law enforcement typically isn’t the type to complain, they do field their fair share of calls regarding car alarms.  Unfortunately, most of these have to do with nuisance car alarms, or those that continuously go off creating havoc, and reducing quality sleep, in residential neighborhoods. Most major local law enforcement and city websites address car alarms and significant resources are dedicated to resolving neighborhood disputes over the noise pollution.

More Than Just Noise

With the general consensus that car alarms are only minimally effective at preventing vehicle theft, and the growing tide of noise pollution complaints given the number of falsely triggered alarms, it would seem that car alarms were a useless security tool.  Or are they?

While alarms may be outdated noisemakers, complimentary security systems, have been shown to be effective at both theft prevention and vehicle recovery.  Car alarms that couple horns blaring, beeping and honking with modern technologies that disable the engine until a key is nearby, can greatly reduce the chances of your car being stolen.  GPS based systems, such as lojack, have been proven to drastically reduce recovery time for your stolen vehicle, decreasing the risk that your car will be damaged upon return.

In any situation, a car alarm is only effective if your car’s standard lock system has not been compromised. Contact A-1 today to learn about our extensive auto-protection services

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