SANTA MARIA, Calif. -

Randy Blankenship “felt very violated” when his car was stolen two years ago. Blankenship said after getting it back, he put “an alarm system in [his] vehicle… and a club on the car.” 

More people are purchasing alarm systems to prevent automobile theft. Marc Deilman works at a store in Santa Maria that specializes in installing car alarms. He said in the past five years, his company increased the number of alarm systems they keep in stock because of thefts.  

Sgt. Christopher Nartatez, with the Santa Maria Police Department, said drivers “may want to buy added security by buying an alarm system ... maybe purchasing a steering wheel lock or something like that” to prevent car theft.

Santa Barbara County ranks 85th on the National Insurance Crime Bureau list of top metro areas for stolen cars.  

In 2013, 730 cars in Santa Maria and 103 cars in Santa Barbara were reported stolen to police.