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Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Car Alarms

Is there anything more useless than a car alarm?


But for today, car alarms will do.

The apparent function of a car alarm is to let your neighbors know that you have a car alarm and that it works. Apart from that, what does it do? 

Deter theft? Nah. From  the time the bad guy triggers the alarm, you have about 30 seconds to get dressed, run downstairs and confront the car thief. By then he's gone.

Does it scare thieves away? Maybe, but he takes your car with him.

Does it alert you to a possible theft? Only if you're home or within ear-shot of the alarm. Problem is, it also alerts every neighbor within a half-mile radius.

I bet 99% of the time the alarm goes off because a bus drove by and rattled the alarm trigger or a dog peed on a hubcap. 

Last week I listened to an alarm going off intermittently for about 2 hours, from 10:30 PM until a half hour past midnight. I finally went to investigate and found a big shiny BMW at the curb about a block away. The elderly owner had just come out of a banquet facility, unaware that his alarm had been going for two hours. The valet parkers knew about it but since they hadn't parked the car, had no idea who owned it. I guess the owner came out to check his pee-soaked hubcaps and that's when he discovered what the entire neighborhood already knew. He had a loud, annoying car alarm. Great.

So he stood there listening to the alarm going off by itself about every three minutes. He'd click and disarm it, and three minutes later it went off again. This went on for another hour until the guy finally went home.

I had a car alarm once. One night it went off when a coyote walked by. The battery on my clicker had died and I didn't know how to rip the wires out. It was dark, I had no flashlight, and I wouldn't know where to look, anyway.

My neighbors loved me.

Car alarms - about as useful as a finger on the back of your head.

If car alarms played It's a Small World people would find a way to shut it off within ten seconds.


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