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Car Safety

About Auto Theft

  • A professional car thief can open a locked car, remove what they want and get away in a matter of seconds. Fortunately, most car thieves rely on the carelessness of their victims. Security-conscious drivers lose less than those who are careless.
  • According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, most cars are stolen because they are easy to steal. Eighty percent of all cars stolen last year were unlocked at the time. A significant number of automobiles are stolen because drivers fail to remove ignition keys. Believe it or not, forty percent actually had the keys in the ignition.
  • Auto theft crimes most often take place at night and are committed by young males. Top spots for auto theft include malls, apartment complexes, stores, churches, and office buildings. No matter where you are, you are always at risk.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) lists the Top 10 Cars Stolen in New York are as follows:

  1. 2018 Honda Accord
  2. 2020 Honda CR-V
  3. 2016 Toyota Camry
  4. 2020 Honda Civic
  5. 2019 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
  6. 2020 Nissan Altima
  7. 2006 Ford Econoline E350
  8. 2006 Ford Econoline E250
  9. 2021 Toyota Corolla
  10. 2019 Ford Pick-Up (Full Size)

How To Give a Thief a Hard Time

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recommends the following precautions:

  • Park in a well-lighted area.
  • Close all windows and lock all doors.
  • Activate any theft deterrent device you may have.
  • Put packages or valuables out of sight: cellular phones, radios, CD's, tape players, tape and cassette decks and laptop computers, and even your schoolbooks (you know how expensive they are) and other expensive items.
  • If you park in a commercial lot, leave only the ignition key with the attendant.
  • Do not keep license, registration, or title in the car. If left in the car, thieves can use these documents to sell your car, or to impersonate you when police challenge them. Owners who indiscriminately leave keys, registration, and other identifiable material in their vehicles may return to their residence only to find that they are the victims of a burglary.
  • If you have a garage, use it. Lock both the vehicle and the garage.

Anti-Auto Theft Programs

The New York State Department of Justice, in cooperation with CUNY Public Safety, participate in the CAT Program, which is a voluntary decal program that entails a more aggressive police response to auto thefts by authorizing investigative stops of participating vehicles. Vehicle stops are made during the hours of 1-5 a.m. on the basis of two identifying decals affixed to both rear-side windows of the automobile.

Also available through CUNY Public Safety is the VIN Etching Program. This program etches your Vehicle Identification Number in all the windows of your vehicle. This makes the car less attractive to thieves because they can not sell the parts of the car as easy. You also might be eligible for a discount on your insurance.

Auto Theft Security Devices

In order to secure your car, several devices may be installed to deter or prevent theft of the car or any of its parts or contents. Anti-theft devices, expensive or not, are going to deter the inexperienced thieves. The installation of anti-theft devices would provide obstacles to even the most experienced thief by increasing the thief's exposure to arrest.

Ignition Cut-Off: A key-operated or hidden manual switch that interrupts the power supply from the battery to the ignition.

Fuel Cut-Off: Integrated into the fuel line, this device prevents the flow of gasoline once the fuel in the gas line is used. Only a special key deactivates the cut-off.

Ignition Column Guard: This security device can provide protection to the ignition starting system. The device fits around the steering column and over the ignition starting system.

Hood Lock: A secondary hood lock should be installed to prevent access to the power source, battery or siren for an alarm system, via a key-operated bolt, which is accessible from inside the car.

Door Locks: Visible, inside, door lock buttons should be smooth and tapered.

Radio Security: Slide mount removable radio devices are recommended. The idea is simple: If you do not want it stolen, take it with you. Newer vehicles are now equipped with factory installed anti-theft radio sytems. The radio is disabled when it is removed from the vehicle.

Anti-Theft Steering Wheel Lock: Locks on and prevents steering wheel from turning. Its high visibility deters theft.

Guard Plate: Install a guard plate over the trunk lock with carriage bolts to protect the trunk cylinder.

Trunk Lock: As an auxiliary or secondary locking device, a heavy-duty chain lock may be installed inside the trunk and is key-operated.

Wheel Locks: This device replaces one lug nut on each tire and is key-operated. (Hubcaps: Special locking devices are available for certain hubcaps such as the spoked hub, etc.)

Car Alarms

There are several alarm systems that will serve to deter or discourage the car thief, and alert others of forced entry into the car:

Siren: The sounding device, used in lieu of the horn, is installed in the engine compartment and should have an audible range of at least 300 feet.

Pin Switches: Plunger type switches that are installed on the doors, hood and trunk, which, when released to their furthest extension, activates the siren.

Glass Protection: A sensing device is available that can identify the sound of breaking glass and can be used in conjunction with switches for overall alarm protection.

Voltage Sensing Device: This device is attached to the wiring of the vehicle and triggers the alarm when a drain of power is detected such as from an interior, hood, or trunk light.

Motion Sensing Device: Sends out sound waves above human hearing and is activated by any disturbance in the sound wave pattern. (Note: This alarm can and has been activated by vibrations of passing vehicles.)

Mercury or Tilt Switch: Placed in the car, this device detects any motion of the car. (Note: Cannot be used when parked on a hill, slope or other than flat ground.)

Passive Arming: (Automatic arming). A passive arming alarm system will arm itself automatically when you leave the car; turning off the ignition activates a countdown timer (usually 30 or 60 seconds). When the countdown (also called "Exit Delay') ends, the alarm arms. This system is called "Passive" arming because you don't actually do anything to arm the alarm. Most of the better systems are designed to wait until you open and close a door before arming. These are called "Last-Door-Arming" alarms.

If Your Car Alarm Should Go Off:

  • Observe activity around your car.
  • Take description, license plate numbers, etc.
  • If you see a suspicious person, call 718-960-7777.
  • Do Not Take Action, your safety is our first concern.

If Your Car Does Get Stolen While On Campus

  • Report theft to the Public Safety Department.
  • Obtain form MV78B "License Plate Form" from your local precinct.
  • Notify your insurance company.
  • Submit Form MV78B to Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • Retain a copy of the Department of Motor Vehicles form as a receipt.

Additional Tips

  • Affix your Lehman College parking decal to your window. Don't leave it lying on the dashboard window.
  • Do not leave your books out in the open (you know how much you paid for them).
  • Mark all your stereo equipment with your New York driver's license number. Use an engraving tool to record your serial number.
  • Have your registration information readily available in the event your car is stolen.
  • If your car should be stolen, call the Public Safety Department at 718-960-7777 immediately.
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