For about a year and a half I lived in a sketchy section Oakland. My car was broken into on a weekly basis. I didn't really care much about it wen I had a car I didn't really care much about, but when I traded up I actually cared. In the first week I had it, it was broken into and the radio was stolen. I vowed my radio would never be stolen again. Here's how I fool the theives.
Step 1: The Set Up
For about a year and a half I lived in a sketchy section Oakland. My car was broken into on a weekly basis. I didn't really care much about it when I had a car I didn't really care much about, but when I traded up for an '83 Mercedes ready for a BioDiesel Conversion (You may be saying to yourself "That was trading UP?!") I actually cared, not because it was an awesome car, but because it was new-to-me and my pet project.
In the first week I had it, it was broken into and the radio was stolen. This was a factory installed radio from 1983, complete with tape deck. Apparently the theives knew more about resale value than me, because when I processed it with the insurance company they told me that the original radio was actually worth more than the car (approx. $1300) and I had to negotiate with them not to total the car out.
In the end they gave me enough money to make repairs, replace the golden radio with something fancy and new, and have some left over.
The new radio had an iPod attachment that I wired through the glovebox, but more importantly it had a removable faceplate (tre modern!). The catch with the removable faceplate, is that even when you take the faceplate off and have the car off, there is a blinking red light on the empty dock, alerting theives to the fact that there is a nice radio in there, and possibly a faceplate tossed around somewhere too.
But I wasn't going to let my fancy new radio get stolen again - my insurance company was already getting suspicious from my once-a-week calls. I had a plan.
Step 2: Fit the Frame Around the Fake Radio
I found an old faceplate holder from (surprise!) my housemates stolen car radio. I cut one half of the box off (lengthwise) and dremmeled out a believably radio-sized hole in the center.
Step 3: Make It Look Jacked Up
I wrapped some electrical tape around the back, just to have some kind of rear surface and taped in some jagged wires - conveneintly left from the stolen radio. Then I stuck one side of sticky velcro to the back of the tape, and the other side to the empty radio face (the fuzzy side didn't impare the face-plate-attaching as much).
Its not perfect, but it does cover up the blinky light and looks pretty jacked up, especially if its dark out. So now when I'm parking the car overnight, I take the real faceplate off and put the janky faceplate on. I've only had one break in since (2 years!) and they didn't even notice the radio.