H.E.A.T. Program to Curb Rising Auto Theft Problem - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/25/03

H.E.A.T. Program to Curb Rising Auto Theft Problem

Imagine parking your car, going to run an errand and coming back to find your space completely empty, your car gone. Tonight the State of Texas has a program to prevent you from becoming a victim. With car thefts on the rise in Lubbock, Ray Salas, investigator for the South Plains car theft task force, is helping car owners curb the problem.

"What we're doing today is we're trying to sign up vehicles in the heat program," says Ray Salas, investigator for the South Plains Auto Theft Task Force.

Protect Your Car from Theft
Stolen vehicles and break-ins to motor vehicles are common crimes in an urban environment. The Department of Public Safety urges you to follow these practical steps to protect your vehicle.
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H.E.A.T. stands for Help End Auto Theft. It's a little plastic sticker that can be all that stands between your car and a potential thief.

"A lot of times when these crooks go out there and they're shopping for these vehicles, the easy target. If they see these heat decals they'll avoid it and go to another target," says Salas. But if your car is stolen, the sticker will allow police to pull over the driver between 1 and 5 a.m. to verify ownership. "If it is you in your vehicle we'll send you on your way, if it's not you may get a phone call at 2 or 3 in the morning and ask hey do you know where your car is, is such person supposed to be in it.

Car owners say the extra five minutes it takes to register for a heat sticker is worth it. "I wanted to get a H.E.A.T. sticker so if my car gets stolen and running off down the street some place the police can stop them," says one car owner.

"I just think we feel safer having someone else look out for us and in this day in time you need protection," says another car owner.

As the temperatures rise so do the number of car thefts, making protection crucial during the summer. Ray Salas with the auto theft task force says on average more cars are stolen during the months of July and August than any other time of the year.

A Closer Look at Auto Theft
A professional car thief can open a locked car, remove what they want and get away in a matter of seconds. Fortunately, most car thieves rely on the carelessness of their victims. Security conscious drivers lose less than those who are careless. The following precautions will greatly reduce your chances of being victimized.
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You can register your car in the H.E.A.T. program absolutely free of charge. Just go buy the southeast portion of the South Plains Mall parking lot near 60th and Slide on Saturday (7.26) between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Be sure to bring your vehicle, a photo ID, and proof of insurance to register your vehicle.

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