Car Alarms

Car rear, brakelight

You’ll just have to imagine the ear-piercing shriek of an alarm. #sorrynotsorry

Can somebody — anybody — please tell me the purpose of car alarms?

I am old enough to remember when car alarms first entered the public consciousness, when they were first announced as a “thing.” They were going to stop crime! Car theft would be a thing of the past! No one would ever lose a car to thieves again!

How’s that working out for you?

Seems to me cars still get stolen, and in addition to not ridding our society of that particular ill, all we’ve done is add a new scourge in the form of car alarms.

Every night — every. single. night. — at least one car alarm (and usually multiples) goes off on my block. Sometimes, the same car will go off several times, usually just as I’m about to fall asleep.

Now, granted, New York has come a long way in terms of safety, but it’s still a city and there’s still crime, but I’m reasonably certain that there are not multiple car-theft attempts on my block alone every goddamned night.

But those alarms go off anyway.

And, here’s the kicker, no one does anything about it.

Follow me here: The gimmick and the promise of a car alarm is that someone dressed in all black, wearing a watch cap and creeping along low to the ground, will attempt to steal your car. The alarm will go off, frightening off the would-be thief. And you, having heard the alarm, will of course rush to the scene to be sure everything is A-OK. And, you know, turn off the alarm.

But does that actually happen? Not on my block!

Those alarms go on forever. No one is checking on the car. If I were a thief, I would have ample time to boost the car, even with the alarm going off.

The alarms just blare and blare and blare. No one is checking. No one is even poking a head out the window to idly check if it’s their ride or not. (Hell, it’s the city — the owner could be in an apartment six block away!)

So the alarm goes off and then eventually shuts itself off, and what was accomplished? Absolutely nothing. No one was even trying to steal the car. Some kid bumped against it or a big truck rattled it enough to set off the alarm, which screams, waking the entire neighborhood…but not the owner.

It’s just pointless.

Car alarms seem like a good idea, and maybe in some areas they are. But even in the country or the suburbs, they go off erroneously — birds knock acorns onto them or those ubiquitous trucks trundle by, shaking their sensors into action.

But in reality, they serve no purpose, other than annoying the hell out of people.

Car alarms should be removed, disabled, shut the hell down. Or, at the very least, shipped deactivated by default from the factory. Or modified so that instead of setting off an ear-splitting screech that wakes up three city blocks, they send a signal to the owner’s phone and wake up that asshole, not me.

Because let me tell you something: The next time a car alarm howls into an otherwise peaceful night, waking me from my slumber for no good reason, I’m going to grab my baseball bat, head outside, and do this:

Bashed car windshield

At least then, there’ll be a reason for the alarm.



  1. Loving my new car alarm system. Something sets off a false alarm, but I make sure I turn it off, not leave the horn honking for several minutes. I know how annoying that could be.

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