Motorists Urged To Protect Themselves From Auto Burglary, Theft
(AUSTIN, Texas – July 19, 2022) With summer being Texas’ busiest time of year for auto burglary and theft, Governor Greg Abbott has declared July “Watch Your Car Month.” The proclamation notes that Texans experience nearly $2 billion in losses every year due to motor vehicle crime.
“Our communities cannot prosper if they are not safe. The actions and choices of criminals can often disrupt our lives, damaging the vital sense of security inherent in our tightly knit Texas communities,” Abbott’s Watch Your Car Month proclamation stated.
The “If You Like It, Lock It” campaign, created by Texas Motor Vehicle Crimes Prevention Authority, to raise awareness and reduce motor vehicle burglary and theft is promoted heavily during the July to help Texans develop the simple habits to protect themselves from the these vehicle crimes.
MVCPA, like local law enforcement, frequently remind motorist the importance of these tips to make sure their vehicles are not easy targets for burglars and thieves:
- Always lock your vehicle and take your keys.
- Never leave your car unattended while it is running.
- Park in a well-lit area.
- Take valuables with you when you are not in your vehicle or keep them out of sight.
- Install an anti-theft device.
Local police describe vehicle burglary as one of the most easily preventable crimes, but often one of the hardest to prove. That’s why each motorist and passenger is encouraged to do their part to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of a vehicle burglary or theft.
This may be a more rural area, but burglaries and theft occur out in the county too, thus, it’s important for people who live in the country to remove keys from vehicles when exiting them – even at home – so that others won’t be able to drive off in their ride.
Readily opened autos are easy pickings for would-be car burglars. Items are easily accessed and removed. It generally takes thieves seconds to pull on a door handle to see if it’s unlocked, then a moment or two to snatch any valuables inside and abscond with them, Sulphur Springs Police Chief Jason Ricketson often reminds people. That’s why it’s important to lock vehicles doors exiting them, regardless of where you are going or for how long.
According to law enforcement officers, vehicle burglars also are known to target vehicles where pricy or easily pawnable items are clearly visible. Removing valuables from vehicles, or securing and storing them out-of-site to passersby held reduce the potential of the auto becoming a target for criminal activity.
Leaving valuables such as purses, wallets, checkbooks, jewelry or cash in unattended vehicles is never a good idea. When items must be left in vehicles, police and sheriff’s officers recommend put them under seats, in the trunk, in closed compartments or other covered areas where they cannot be seen by anyone who might be walking in the area. Conceal and stow parcels in a trunk, if possible, or covering bags, packages, store bags and other items out-of-site, so they do on attract attention.
Those who can are encouraged by the state officials to enable anti-theft devices on their vehicles; a new vehicle may even come already equipped with one. In fact, doing so often pays out in more ways than one. Many insurance companies give discounts for certain anti-theft devices. MVCPA recommends checking with your insurance agent for details.
The Texas Legislature established MVCPA in 1991 to combat motor vehicle theft, burglary, and fraud-related motor vehicle crime in Texas. This is the 29th year the authority has issued funding.
If anyone witnesses what appears to be a vehicle burglary or other suspicious activity, they are encouraged to call their local law enforcement agency or, if witnessing a crime in progress, call 911.
For more information about how to protect yourself from motor vehicle crime, visit MVCPA at www.TxDMV.gov/about-us/MVCPA.