'Tis the season to watch out for auto theft - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

'Tis the season to watch out for auto theft

Ohhh, you better watch out. That's the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles slogan this year to prevent auto thefts.

While you're out shopping this season, so are car thieves. Last year 3,198 cars were burglarized in the city of Lubbock alone. In the state of Texas there were 285,501 car break-ins, totaling $220,315,208 in economic losses.

To lessen your chance of becoming a victim, Kat Anderson with the South Plains Auto Theft Task Force reminds people to hide your things, lock your car and take your keys.

KCBD went out to a downtown parking lot and found cars with jackets, laptops, books and receipts in a variety of cars. Anderson says thieves look for anything to make a quick sale. A vehicle is robbed every two and a half minutes. Every five minutes a vehicle is stolen.

"They think you hide stuff under things, so any visual is a clue for our burglary suspects. Don't leave anything in there that's not from the factory," Anderson said.

She also says thieves are looking to steal your identity. By law, she says you don't have to keep your insurance in your glove box, just on you.

"If they steal your identity or anything with your address and you are in shopping, they can grab your garage door opener and burglarize your house before you can get home," said Anderson.

Evan Radin let us take a peek in his truck. We found his insurance, prescriptions and a garage door opener. He has a Ford truck, the number one vehicle stolen in Texas. Chevy Pickups, Dodge pickups and Honda Pickups also top the list.

Mary Barrington was next.

"Here are receipts from her oil change that have her address and name on it. That needs to come out miss," Anderson said.

Plus, Anderson says if you go shopping and leave gifts in your trunk, thieves can still steal those.

"Most of them have the automatic trunk releases. Take it home it's not worse leaving it in your vehicle," said Anderson.

If you leave your things in your car, Anderson also says that is considered a victim assisted crime and sometimes insurance companies won't pay for what's stolen.

Here are some more tips for auto theft prevention (Source: TXDMV):

  • Park in well-lit or heavily-trafficked areas. Thieves do not like witnesses. Find an attended lot or garage if possible.
  • Give parking attendants the ignition key only. Keep your trunk and glove box locked at all times. If possible, get separate keys for the ignition and the trunk and glove box
  • Never leave your car running unattended. Cars are often stolen at convenience stores, gas stations or when an owner leaves the vehicle running to warm it up. In Texas, it is illegal.
  • Install an anti-theft device. Many insurance companies may give you a discount for certain anti-theft devices. Check with your agent for details.

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

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11

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