Service of Listening to Your Mother

September 4th, 2014

Categories: Automobiles, Listen, Theft

NPR’s David Greene interviewed a VP of the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Roger Morris, who explained how the auto industry has taken a big bite out of car theft through technology. In 1991, at the peak, there were 1.6 million car thefts a year vs. 700,000 in 2013 according to FBI stats, said Morris.

How did this happen? Morris said: “Well, they put a code in the key that matches up with the ignition that says, you know, unless this key is in this ignition, it won’t start. So it basically stopped the hot wiring and, you know, the joy riding, so to speak.”

Apart from the models on the road made before this technology was built in, what’s the main cause of car thefts these days? Morris says it’s because people leave keys in unlocked cars when they dash into a store.

Clearly these drivers didn’t use common sense or heed their mother or father’s warning never to do this. Have you wanted to kick yourself when something’s happened because you’ve not followed time-tested, sage advice?

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6 Responses to “Service of Listening to Your Mother”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    No parent, no matter how well meaning, can shoot 100%, so some of the worst, as well as best advice comes from that source. At times bad advice is born from selfishness and/or ignorance. A self preservation instinct, normal to most life forms, should warn against not protecting property and valuables from harm. Otherwise, what about orphans and bastards? History abounds with successful offspring whose development was nurtured by outsiders and/or the school of hard knocks.

    Let’s call the main reason for car thefts by its real name: Stupidity.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Some people think they live in a safe place and then surprise! I know folks in city apartment houses who never lock their front doors.

    While I’ve never left my car key behind with or without the engine running to dash into a store for a paper or cup of coffee, I could understand someone thinking, “I’ll only be a minute,” and “it’s so cold or hot out I’ll leave on the heat or ac,” and not recognizing the risk.

  3. David Reich Said:

    “Wear your rubbers.”

    “Eat the vegetables, too.”

    “Don’t go swimming right after you eat.”

    “Don’t look directly at the sun.”

    “Don’t smoke, or if you do, don’t take cigarette from someone you don’t know.”

    “Don’t tease the dog.”

    … and lots more.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’m laughing because I love your mother and how centered and tolerant she is.

    I can’t address all these things but if she did say anything about wearing rubbers, you didn’t listen. I can bet that you DID listen to her warning about teasing the dog because Loki is calm and sweet and looks like he’s been played with plenty but not teased.

  5. D. Macbethson Said:

    It took me almost thirty years to learn not to listen to my mother. Consequently, I would have been far more comfortable had you titled your piece, “The Disservice of Listening to your Mother.”

    That said, I must tell you that I found what you wrote quite frightening, as I am both a technological moron and compulsively absentminded. In self-defense, to the extent possible, I stay away from all mechanical devices including automobiles.

    Almost twenty years ago, I left the keys in the ignition, and then locked the car doors as I got out to go into a shop in a small Connecticut town forty miles from home. I didn’t know what to do. Fortunately, the shopkeeper was a sympathetic soul. She called up the town sheriff who came by, took out something that looked like a metal ruler and opened the door. Greatly relieved and truly thankful, I gave the sheriff twenty dollars, and immediately drove home, my wife none the wiser.

    From what you write, if I’d done the same dumb thing today, all Hell would have broken loose. I’d have to have some super technician fly out from General Motors in Detroit to pry the car open at God knows what expense! What my wife would have said to me is something else.

    I’m all for crime prevention, but not if it is going to put me at risk of newly invented still more sophisticated mechanical perils. Give me back the good old days!

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    D. Macbethson,

    I don’t know what it cost because when the service that came with my car ran out, I didn’t renew it, but you could pay a service like Onstar, the phone number of which would be in your mobile phone and hopefully in pocket or purse, and from the ether the operator would unlock your car, your wife none the wiser.

    Had you locked the car door, at least it wouldn’t have been stolen, unless the thief broke the window which would make noise and call attention to the miscreant.

    I was lucky because my mother had piles of common sense and I’ve been told I do too. Had she been a flake goodness knows whether I’d have been pragmatic or nutso.

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