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SPD Home / Safety & Prevention / Car Theft Prevention Devices


The SPD wants to raise public awareness about security systems and prevention devices for your vehicle. However, this should not be taken as an official endorsement by the SPD of any particular device or company.


Alarms make loud warning signs when the door, hood, or trunk of a car are tampered with. Most alarms have motion sensors, impact sensors and an audible alarm around 120 decibels. Alarms can run anywhere from $150-$1,000 depending on the features. Please be aware that within the City of Seattle, owners can be cited if a false alarm fails to re-set itself within five minutes.

ELectronic disabling devices

An ignition kill switch is a hidden switch that needs to be turned on before the car will start. To work well, the must be hidden well. "Immobilizers" and "Passkeys" work on similar principles. Please be aware that some warranties are nullified if a kill switch is installed. Electronic keys are an installed electronic system that only allows the vehicle to operate with a correctly coded key.


The Seattle Neighborhood Group (SNGI) has two sizes of vehicle anti-theft devices available at reduced cost for Seattle Residents.

Find out more at


There are a variety of locking metal devices that can disable everything from your gearshift, gas petal, brake petal, hood, tires or protect your steering column from breakage. The most well known of these devices are steering wheel locks. This is a long, locking metal bar that fits on a steering wheel to prevent it from being turned. The steering wheel lock also acts as a good visual deterrent.


VIN Etching is a way to mark your vehicle to make it harder for an auto thief to resell the vehicle or it's parts. VIN Etching uses a chemical to etch the Vehicle (VIN) numbers on all the windows of your vehicle. This process does not have any adverse effects on the windows, is almost invisible, and it is permanent. A sticker much like the Operation ID sticker used in burglary prevention programs is affixed to one of the car windows notifying a would-be thief that the windows are etched.


"LoJack" is a private security system, that assists law enforcement by locating stolen vehicles. If an owner has a LoJack unit installed in their vehicle, and the car is reported stolen, the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is entered into the Washington State Patrol database. This turns the LoJack unit on in the stolen vehicle, which activates a signal that can be picked up by special tracking equipment installed in police patrol cars.

The SPD currently has five patrol cars with these tracking units at each precinct, and has found that the program can be effective in recovering stolen vehicles.

The SPD wants to raise public awareness that this security system is available and that we have the equipment to support its technology, however, as LoJack is a private company, this should not be taken as an official endorsement by the SPD. Further questions about the LoJack system should be directed to

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Headquarters: 610 5th Avenue,
Seattle, WA 98124-4986
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