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Vehicle theft and burglary prevention tips offered

Updated December 23, 2009

The City's Community Safety Division has reported an increase of vehicle thefts and burglaries in Cerritos and surrounding cities in recent months.

Safety officials also reported Honda and Toyota vehicles accounted for 23 of the 25 most frequently stolen cars in California. Thefts of Acura vehicles for parts is also increasing.

Vehicle thefts have increased in residential areas. Cerritos Sheriff's deputies recommend the use of a steering wheel locking device to deter thefts.

Also recommended are "kill switches" or starter bypass switches. A kill switch prevents electrical current from reaching the vehicle's coil or carburetor, and can only be deactivated by using a hidden switch. Before ordering the installation of a kill switch, check your vehicle's warranty policy to ensure it will not be a problem. If there is a warranty problem with kill switches, consider using a starter bypass switch to accomplish the same result. Use of a fuel switch will interrupt the flow of gas or diesel fuel, and prevent the car from being driven away.

Cerritos Sheriff's deputies also said tracking devices are useful in locating stolen vehicles. Global positioning satellite systems that are available for a monthly or annual fee can pinpoint the location of your car. Other systems allow law enforcement to directly track the car's movement.

If you plan to leave your auto outside and unattended for a period of time, consider removing the coil or distributor cap.

Cerritos Sheriff's deputies have reported the main cause of vehicle burglaries is the placement of visible items within the passenger compartment. Laptop computers, cellular phones, purses, briefcases and camera equipment are some of the most frequently stolen items. This is attributed to how easily the property can be seen by potential thieves from outside of the vehicle.

High-end car stereo components are also frequent targets and may be more difficult to protect. Removable units or locking faceplates can reduce the likelihood of theft.

The best security against both vehicle theft and burglary at your residence is to lock your car in your garage.

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