Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 22, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
PAGE 3 New devices thwarting joy riders Million cars expected to be stolen One of every 100 cars and trucks in the United States was stolen last year. Or, to put it another way, almost one million vehicles were stolen in a year when new car sales totalled 8.3 million. It seems like a contradiction, 'but these thefts which are at a record high come at a time when all new cars are being equipped with anti-theft devices to lock the steering column, transmission and ignition. However, these devices have only been on cars for the last few years. There are probably still 90 million vehicles on the road i-'''-wt Hi-mi. So, it will likely be some years before it can be deter- mined how much the new de- vices will cut thefts. Nationwide, oar thefts are still on the increase. In 1968, some cars were stolen; in 1969, The FBI has not yet released most recent fig- ures, but they are expected to show another increase to well over perhaps one mil- lion annually. The anti-theft locks are not stopping the professional car thief, according to officials from industry and government. The pro knows how to defeat the lock in some cases by physically removing it. San Francisco police recently reported to the Automobile M a n u f a c hirers Association (AMA) that many professional auto thieves operating in their city were towing the new cars away. Instead of trying to break the lock on the street, they haul the car to a garage where they can work on it in private. However, towing the new cars can be a problem for both thieves and police because the devices lock both the transmis- sion and steering column. With the conventional rear-drive Am- erican car, you can't pick up the front wheels and tow it because the transmission keeps the back wheels locked. You can pick up the rear end and tow the car, providing the front wheels are locked in a straight ahead position. But you can't tow it this way if the front wheels were turned when the column was locked. The only recourse then, is to put dollies under the wheels to tow the car. Obviously, no juvenile is going to go to this trouble to steal a car just for kicks. But Robert L. Wilson, secre- tary of the AMA's vehicle se- curity committee, said the de- vice "definitely has an effect on the joy riding kids. The ju- veniles are stealing a lower per- centage of new cars. And that was our main thrust with the device." The only available statistics show that about 40 per cent of the cars stolen had the keys left in the ignition. This, of course, defeats the purpose of the triple-locking system. To remind people to remove their keys, cars for the last couple of years have had a buzzer which sounds if the driver's door is opened with the key still in the ignition. In an effort to make it easier for police to identify a stolen car and to make it tougher for thieves, Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) are now mount- ed permanently on UK instru- ment panel. New cars have had to have the triple lock since January 1, 1970 under a federal safety reg- ulation adopted because stolen cars are 200 times more likely to be involved in a traffic acci- dent, according to statistics. Riding System II Service a Head into winter with wheels that head straight" "As you well know, winter driving isn't always easy. It can be even tougher and more treacherous if your front wheels are out of alignment. "Tho fact is, it can be hard to control your car even on the best of roads when the wheels are out of true. So it's even more critical when roads are snowy, wet or icy. "And hero's another thing. If you need a wheel alignment you are already paying a high price in rapid tire wear. How can you tell if you need an alignment? The fact is every car needs a wheel alignment from time to time. Normal driving conditions put wheels out of true alignment. "Bring your car in, and our Riding System specialists will tell you if you are ready for an alignment. We'd sug- gest you do it soon. Before winter adds to the hazards of driving." At these Firestone Stores... Corner 3rd Ave. and 8th Phone 327-8548 Open Daily 8 a.m. to p.m. St. S.