It's the most wonderful time of the year for thieves - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

It's the most wonderful time of the year for thieves

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By Christie Post - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – It's the most wonderful time of the year for thieves. In Texas every two and a half minutes a vehicle is broken into, and every five minutes a vehicle is stolen.

According to the South Plains Auto Theft Task Force, in 2009 in the state of Texas there were 210,938 motor vehicle thefts, which added up to more than $220,315,208 dollars stolen.

And it's not just cars and personal items that are stolen, thieves steal anything including your identity.

"We're looking for unlocked vehicles, we're looking for things left on the seat. See here's a shopping bag," said Kat Anderson, crime prevention public awareness coordinator for South Plains Auto Theft Task Force.

Kat Anderson with the South Plains Auto Theft Task Force said it's that time of the year when you do your shopping, thieves are doing their own.

"I learned not to hide your valuables where people can just walk by and see it. Especially backpacks, I had letter lying around. It's just so easy for them to take everything in one false swoop," said Jonathan Ramirez, who had his car searched to see if he would be a victim.  

Anderson said always remember to hide your things, lock your car and take your keys. "Anything that you can deter thieves from, because they're looking for a fast in and out."

And leave your car in the same condition when it rolled off the factory floor, nothing inside including what's in your glove box. "If they steal your vehicle registration they have all your information. So take it out. You no longer have to carry your registration with you. All officers have mobile data units. And keep your insurance card in your billfold," said Anderson.

Jonathan Ramirez, a shopper leaving to head in a store had his vehicle registration, mail from his housing board and a backpack in the back of his car. Something Anderson said a thief could steal simply by breaking into his car, making him another victim.

"Well the letters actually had my address, they had my dorm room on there, my address, cell phone numbers, I actually think the letter had my social," said Ramirez.

These auto thefts are a gateway to worse crimes, so if you prevent yourself from being a victim you can help stop other crimes from happening. "They're looking for anything that they can steal that they can sell for narcotics and just spending money. And once they steal your vehicle them they have a ride," said Anderson, "If you leave things in your car, we call that a victim assisted crime and sometimes your insurance company's are saying we're not going to pay if you help the thieves do what they're doing."

Here are some more tips for auto theft prevention:

  • Never hide a second set of keys in your car
  • Park in well-lighted areas
  • If you park in an attended lot, only leave your ignition key
  • Never leave your car running and unattended, even if it's just for a minute – In Texas it's illegal to leave your car running with no one inside it
  • Close your car windows completely when parking
  • Don't tempt thieves by leaving valuables in sight.
  • Park with your wheels turned towards the curb.

If you would like more information go to www.txwatchyourcar.com

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