AdviceNewsSan Francisco

How To Catch a Car Thief

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In our little 7×7  town of San Francisco,  we have experienced a 49 percent jump in auto burglaries and a 18 percent increase in vehicle thefts in the first two months of 2015 alone!  My Smart car was burgalirized twice in two months and recently stolen! However, because I had a GetAround car kit installed, I was able to get ultimate redemption! Please read below on how car sharing can limit this wave of car theft.

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This is my friend, Sandra Kwak. She is not a car thief (that I know of)

I didn’t know until it happened to me, but there were  4,142 auto burglaries (on record) during the first two months this year, compared to 2,772 last year. As for vehicle thefts, the numbers jumped from 816 during January and February 2014 to 959.

1

Christmas Eve, 2014

On Christmas eve, my Smart car window was busted only for the thief to find nothing by my Fasktrak and some gum wrappers. Two weeks and two hundred dollars later, a homeless man was somehow able to “David Copperfield ” his way into making my vehicle his refuge for the night. Why he chose a Smart car as his free motel versus a SUV or a roomier vehicle, I can not explain. But needless to say, I was relieved my window wasn’t busted again. Due to these excessive car break-ins I decided to invest in the Performing Arts Garage a few blocks away.

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In order to subsidize the cost of the garage and car ownership in general, I put my 2013 Smart Car for Two on the  Carsharing platform, GetAround.com. An average of 18 trips per month would make me around $500, along with a Car Kit with the capabilities to unlock the car, track the car with gps, and disable the engine.

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Interface of Carkit GPS

When last week, I went to my car and it was missing from the parking lot, I figured I had rented the car and forgotten. But when GetAround confirmed there was no booked rental and that my car was in Sacramento, I knew it was somehow stolen!                                                                                                                                                                     

Thanks to GetAround’s carkit and impeccable customer support (thank you, Charlie and team), they were able to disable the engine with a click of a button. They were also able to determine the car was stolen at 9:32pm the previous evening and track the exact path of the car. I reported the car stolen via Northern Police station and the Sacramento police were able to recover the Smart car in the thief’s driveway – where they were also able to make an arrest! Suckers. GetAround then towed my car back to San Francisco that evening and I was back on the road like nothing had happened in no time!

In the non-car sharing world, when a a car is stolen, it is extremely rare to be able to recover it, let alone make an arrest…

According to one of the officers, who assisted me,  auto burglaries and vehicle thefts is the continuation of a trend since 2010. The number of recorded auto burglaries have more than doubled in SF since then, from 9,554 in 2010 to 19,827 last year.


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The top 3 Car Thief/Burglary Deterrents according to Police:

3) Put your car in a parking garage (a whole lot of good it did me, eh) or a well-lit, populated area.

2) Do not leave ANYTHING visible in your car.

1) If you report immediately, there is a shot the car could get pulled over by a cop, or more likely: a meter maid will give the car a ticket (and see it is reported stolen) and call the cops.

 

My Broke-Ass just leaves this sign in my car:

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Alexandra Liss - Couchsurfer Extraordinaire

Alexandra Liss - Couchsurfer Extraordinaire

Alexandra Liss is a San Francisco native, Entrepreneur Whisperer, Sharing Economy Evangelist. Just Vagenius. Co-author of www.ItsaShareableLife.com, & Videographer for hire www.BrandbarSF.com, Director of www.OneCouchataTime.com.