NORTHEAST TEXAS AUTO THEFT TASK FORCE
Vehicle Criminals Prepare To Shop!
The holiday season is upon us!
And just as you prepare for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and visiting
the malls and shopping centers, thieves are preparing to shop, too, in your vehicle!
There has been a recent spike in burglary of motor vehicles in the Paris area. These burglaries are occurring late at night or early in the morning when most of the public is asleep. The burglars are targeting vehicles that are left unlocked and taking anything of value. More important, they are getting access to firearms left in cars. The Paris Police Department and the Northeast Texas Auto Theft Task Force encourage you to make sure you lock your vehicles and remove valuables.
The Texas Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority (MVCPA), a division of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, reminds drivers that a vehicle is burglarized every two minutes and stolen every eight minutes in the state.
These crimes can escalate during the holiday season when drivers frequently shop for gifts and travel to visit friends and family. During these times, drivers are more likely to leave belongings within view inside vehicles. The hustle and bustle of the season may also cause drivers to become negligent in locking doors and taking keys. To make matters worse, a thief won’t necessarily stop taking your vehicle and the things inside. They may also look for personal documents and items to help them steal your identity or gain access to your home. In other words, the theft or burglary of your vehicle may be a gateway to the commission of additional crimes.
Auto burglars are more likely to scout malls, shopping centers, entertainment venues, hotels, and other business parking lots this time of year, looking for opportunities to break into vehicles. Drivers need to understand that almost anything they leave inside their vehicles can be valuable to a thief.
And when vehicles are left unlocked and unattended, drivers are inviting thieves to walk away with everything they see inside, which often includes gifts, purses, wallets, packages, electronics, suitcases, garage door openers, keys, and personal information.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, thieves committed 117,513 acts of burglary and stole 69,730 vehicles in Texas during 2018. In some jurisdictions, more than half of the vehicles stolen had unlocked doors and keys left inside. But drivers can avoid becoming part of these statistics.
The MVCPA and its 24-vehicle crime task forces in Texas promote a basic vehicle crime prevention philosophy: “Protect It, It’s Yours.” Motorists should practice three essential safety tips to help prevent theft and burglary during the holidays and throughout the year:
1. Remove belongings from view
2. Secure vehicles
3. Never leave keys inside
In addition to practicing these prevention methodologies, drivers should park in well-lit areas, near surveillance cameras (if available), and heavy-foot and vehicle traffic. The more thieves feel threatened by detection, the less likely they are to focus on targets in such areas.