With summer on the way, Lubbock's Auto Task Force is warning drivers to protect their vehicles as crime rates rise.
Kathy Anderson with the task force says they see the biggest spike in auto thefts in July, with a 5 to 10% increase here in Lubbock. "It's mainly because people are more complacent. It's hot, they leave their windows down and don't think anything about it," said Anderson.
Leaving your window cracked might let air in to cool the car, but it also makes your vehicle a huge target. "A lot of car thieves have an instrument — they just reach in and pop the lock," said Anderson.
The heat is just one reason the task force sees a spike during the summer. "Our kids are out of school and they have lots of time on their hands. They can get out and roam the streets, and if they see something in the car and it's not locked - the likelihood is they're going to take it," she said.
Anderson also says people preoccupied with summer activities like going to pool or park when valuables are left in the vehicle.
"We want to caution everyone during the summer ... it's hot, but lock your car, take your things and hide your things," Anderson said. "People are more likely to go out later at night because of the heat, and that's when your thieves are out, under the cover darkness."
Anderson says other places to be cautious of thieves is at malls, movie theaters, gyms and even churches – any place you will be away from you vehicle for a long period of time.