Anti-Theft Devices – Physical Security

Almost every time we saw the news on stolen Alphard/Vellfire, owners will panic and start to consider additional physical security features/devices to be installed into their vehicles.

Let me share you the intention or objectives of physical security “system”, and how can we map/apply them to the technologies that help protect our beloved car(s) which consist of:

  1. Deterrence / Delay
  2. Detection
  3. Trigger / Response / Defense

I hope it will help you to understand the features of the additional physical security devices as a baseline, in order for you to make a decision on which (or combination of) brands/models/technologies to proceed with. Personally, I have a combination of 5 “technologies” (from the table below) installed in my Vellfire

Objective Technology Remarks
Deterrence / Delay Steering lock Easy to be seen, indirect way to say “Hey I’m secure. Look for other car instead”; adversary usually will look for “low hanging fruit”. But physically, steering lock is not really a strong mechanism to protect your car
Deterrence / Delay Blinking LED as alarm indicator Easy to be seen, indirect way to say “Hey I’m secure. Look for other car instead”; adversary usually will look for “low hanging fruit”.
Deterrence / Delay Gear/Shift lock Most of the modern cars come with Gear/Shift lock integrated, but in reality it can easily be unlocked by just using a screw driver. But it will definitely cost more time to the adversary in his/her attempt
Deterrence / Delay Brake pedal lock This is realistically a good mechanism. Most of them were made using very hard metal and mostly require a (semi) permenant and strong installation to your car. It also highly visible and will defenately make the adversary to think twice
Deterrence / Delay Cut off / Kill switch Kill switch disrupts the flow of electricity to the fuel pump or other critical systems, making it impossible to start the car without flicking the switch. It can be as part of alarm system, token based immobilizer or physical switch
Detection GPS tracker Today, GPS tracker equipped with sim card. SMS based interaction will only give you the current known location, while the app (or server) based interaction will allow you to track current, last known, and previous location. Some tracker came with standby battery and some equipped with cut off feature. These are the important notes on GPS tracker, the rest are added value only.
Detection Alarm system (some models) Alphard/Vellfire already came with centralized lock, but no alarm. You just need a canbus alarm system to complement the original centralized locking system. In the context of “Detection”, some alarm system equipped with sonar, vibration and/or approximate sensor/detection, which give you more than just door-opened based triggering
Trigger / Response / Defense Alarm system In the context of “Trigger”, a basic alarm system will be triggered if any of the 5 doors were opened. Usually it will be tapped to door-switch wiring, but some installer will just tap the cabin light wiring for the door ajar. Be reminded, for keyless Alphard/Vellfire, came with cabin light assist that will turn on the cabin light if the owner with the key approaching the driver’s door when the car is in locked position. If i remember it correctly, the cabin light assist use the same wiring with the door ajar, so cabin light assist will trigger the alarm if the installer tap the door ajar wiring. Some alarm system come with backup battery, but most will just rely on the car’s battery
Trigger / Response / Defense Brake pedal lock (some models) A smarter version brake pedal lock comes with built-in immobilizer and/or alarm. This version provides more than just physical brake pedal locking, but also helps to lock down your vehicle, trigger centralized alarm, and/or trigger the built-in alarm in the events of the locking device get tempered, or attempt to start the engine while the locking device is still in locked position.

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