Car Alarms: Alarmingly Useless

For almost thirty years, car alarms have polluted America's cities. The insurance industry says they don't reduce car theft–but they do rouse sleepers, disturb readers, interrupt conversations, and make neighborhoods less civil. Now that silent, inexpensive anti-theft devices are available, the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse is partnering with the anti-alarm group Silent Majority to banish car alarms for good.

Already, the New York City Council is considering legislation outlawing the use of car alarms within the city. A new report by Transportation Alternatives, a non-profit advocacy group, finds that the alarms are "alarmingly useless," and could be legally and effectively banned. New groups in Chicago and Hawaii are forming to introduce local versions of the proposed New York law.

Now it's your turn.

We need you to help us fight against car alarms in your community. New York's activists have done the heavy lifting: researching the economic impact of alarms and their ineffectiveness, the legality of a ban, and even drafting legislation. Now, we need people to spread the word, present the data to local politicians and convince them to take action. If you think you can talk to your neighbors, write letters, or possibly even lead a local group against car alarms, please call us toll free at 1-888-200-8332.

We'll send you a packet and give you a call after we see who else in your community can help stamp out this urban blight.

Silencing Alarms Will Work

The car alarm industry is working hard to stop a car alarm ban. They’ve got the money, but we’ve got the people. Industry lobbyists can’t be in 50-100 cities at once, but citizens can. We need your help in a coordinated attack on noisy and ineffective car alarms.

Not only do we have the numerical advantage, the odds are on our side too. We don’t have to achieve bans in all 50-100 cities at once. All we have to do is ban them in one major city, and the precedent will be set. Then other cities, over time, will ban them too.

The Silent Treatment: Alternatives to Noisy Car Alarms


How it Works



Mechanical Immobilizers

The steering wheel or brake pedal is “locked down” with a bar.

Brakelock, Club, Autolock, Autowatch

$40-80 with no installation

Pager Alarms

Pager replaces the siren in conventional alarms and signals a break-in to the owner remotely.

Rock, most alarm mfgrs.

$120-350 including installation

Tracking Systems

A transmitter within the car (using GPS or triangulation) signals vehicle location to police who can then apprehend the thieves

LoJack, Viper, Peak, Blue Water, Spy Chest, Onstar, Boomerang, GlobalGuard

$600-1200 including installation; monthly fees are also charged

Electrical Immobilizers

Cuts the electrical systems at several points. Owner must authenticate with transponder or PIN-code to start the vehicle.

Autowatch, NoStart, Startop, Ravelco Antitheft Devices

$100-350 including installation

Anti-Carjacking Systems

Events such as a door opening require driver to re-authenticate an operating vehicle. If not authenticated, thief may take the car for only a short distance where it stops safely.

Carguard, Clifford

$350-850 including installation

Source: Center for Automotive Security Innovation and Noise Pollution Clearinghouse