Clive Thompson, our friend and frequent Boing Boing contributor, recently took his 2010 Hyundai Elantra into the service station to repair the air conditioner. He told the service rep to also disconnect the car alarm, because it had been randomly going off. The rep tried to talk him out of it by offering to troubleshoot and repair it instead, but Clive insisted because he knows car alarms are worse than useless:
"People who place such alarms in their vehicles show the ultimate in selfishness: A willingness to invade the space of their fellow citizens with a raucous noise that says, 'I care about my car and couldn't care less about your ears,'" as Dave Pickell, an urban noise activist, told City Journal. Fully 76% of people surveyed in NYC said car alarms had disturbed their sleep.
But what really puts the cherry on this ice-cream-sundae of car-owner narcissism? Automobile alarms cause all these civic problems for absolutely no reason, because the alarms do nothing to prevent crime.
We've known this for a long time. Research going back decades has documented that when car alarms go off, it's accidental over 95 percent of the time. As a result, nobody takes them as a serious marker of crime-in-progress, so nobody alerts the authorities.