This month you are more likely to have your car stolen than any other month of the year. Since January, more than 300 vehicles have been stolen in the Hub City, not including July. However, there are ways to protect you from becoming the next victim of auto theft.
Mandi Flores no longer takes starting up her car for granted. "We were just out and I put my keys down for not even five minutes, and I came back to the table and my keys were gone," Flores said.
Just more than a week ago, Flores headed to the Depot District for a Saturday night of fun. But come midnight she found herself in a nightmare.
"My heart stopped. Something that you pick out, you spend so much time thinking this is the car you want, that you are going to work for and it's just gone," Flores said.
Just days later police found Flores car in the carport of an abandoned house. Baby blankets, a child's car seat and CD's were taken but the car was intact. Flores is one of the lucky ones, as many stolen cars are never found or if they are, the car has been stripped.
"The stereo, they're going to steal," Kat Anderson with the South Plains Auto Theft Task Force said. "We find a lot of them in playa lakes and last summer we pulled out 12 and 11 of them had the keys in the ignition," Anderson said.
Anderson says the top two places auto thieves' target, your home or large parking lots. "People are very complacent about leaving their keys in their car and they'll go right in your garage and steal your vehicle."
Anderson says thieves strike especially during hot summer July days, which is why this month is "Watch Your Car" month. To deter thieves she urges drivers to register their car with the Texas Department of Public Safety and put a heat sticker on it.
"The more you can put on your vehicle to say this car is protected the less likely you are to have it stolen," Anderson added.
However, stickers may not enough. Flores says it is best to keep your keys close. "Don't leave them in your car, always keep them with you. Put them in a safe place," Flores added.
"Help End Auto Theft" stickers--better known as HEAT will be available at the South Plains Mall the July 25 and 26. It is free to register your car. The sticker will allow officers to stop cars between one and five in the morning to check if it is stolen. By the way, if you leave your keys in a running car, you may not only get it stolen but you also could face up to a $500 fine.
For more information on the "Watch Your Car", program click here.
|Staying Safe Around Your Home|