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SOUND THE ALARM: PROTECTION RANGES FROM 26 STICKERS TO FLASHY, REMOTE SYSTEMS

Next month, residents will be able to purchase a car alarm with a remote transmitter that allows the owner to start the car, open the garage door roll up or down the windows and lock or unlock the doors. And, it will cut the power to the starter if the car is forcibly entered.

There is even a panic button that makes a siren go off and the car light up like a Christmas tree.The most popular anti-theft device, however, is a 26-cent sticker that says "Warning: This car protected by a security system."

Cory Boyer of Boyers car and audio store in Provo said that most alarms can be purchased and installed for $150 to $700, depending on how involved the alarm system is.

"Our bottom-of-the-line alarm system has a standard remote with a two-stage shock sensor from very sensitive to mild," Boyer said. It operates through the dome light of the car and goes off when the door is opened.

The most sophisticated alarm the store offers is called the Elite and will be available next month.

"One option we have is what we call the siren from hell. It is really loud and really obnoxious. It sounds sort of like a police siren," Boyer said.

Jerry Marks, alarm sales representative for Car Concepts in Salt Lake City, says the best kind of alarm is something that is shock-sensitive and not motion-sensitive, so the alarm doesn't go off when a large truck drives by.

"I think the only time an alarm should go off is when someone is breaking into your car. A lot of these voice alarms go off when people are just walking past and are only attracting attention to the car," he said.

Another alarm that Marks recommends has a flashing red light on the dash. The light itself will often deter a thief.

"Be careful when you are buying an alarm, and get someone that knows what they are doing. There is a lot of junk out there and you need to be prepared to spend $300 to $400 when you are trying to protect a car that is around $10,000 to $20,000," Marks said.

Most car dealers offer car alarms as an option on their new cars, and the alarm is standard on most imported cars over $20,000.

Acura sales representative Chris Whitworth said the kind of car you own has a lot to do with its appeal to burglars.

"When I used to work for Saab, there was somebody in every week with a window smashed in," he said. "But I haven't seen as much of that since I started working here."

Other devices available include locks that prevent the steering wheel from being turned and cost anywhere from $15 to $60.