The warm summer months are upon us. As you prepare for the parks, ball games, cookouts and other outdoor activities, thieves are preparing for you to make a mistake by leaving your vehicle unlocked.
There has been a recent spoken burglary of motor vehicles in the Paris area, as well as in Lamar County. These burglaries are occurring late at night or early in the morning when most of the public are asleep. The burglars are targeting vehicles that are left unlocked, and taking anything of value. More important they are getting access to firearms left in vehicles. The Paris Police Department and the Northeast Texas Auto Theft Task Force encourage you to make sure you lock your vehicles and remove valuables.
The Texas Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority, a division of the Texas DMV, reminds drivers that a vehicle is burglarized every two minutes and stolen every eight minutes in the state. These crimes can escalate during the summer season when the weather is warm. With our busy schedules and activities during this time some drivers become negligent in locking doors and taking keys. To make matters worse, a thief won’t necessarily stop with taking your vehicle and the things inside. They may also look for personal documents and items that can help them steal your identity or gain access to your home. In other words, the theft or burglary of your vehicle may simply be a gateway to the commission of additional crimes.
Auto burglars are more likely to burglarize an unlocked vehicle instead of a locked one. Drivers need to understand that almost anything they leave inside their vehicles can be valuable to a theft .When vehicles are left unlocked and unattended, drivers are inviting thieves to walk away with everything they see inside, which often includes firearms, purses, wallets packages, electronics, suitcases, garage door openers, keys and personal information.
According to Texas DPS, thieves committed 108,015 acts of burglary and stole 83,504 vehicles in Texas during 2021. In some jurisdictions, more than half of the vehicles stolen had unlocked doors and keys left inside, but drivers can avoid becoming part of these statistics. The MVCPA and its 24 vehicle crime task forces in Texas promote a basic vehicle crime prevention philosophy: “Protect It, It’s Yours.” Motorists should practice three basic safety tips to help prevent theft and burglary during the summer months and throughout the year:
- Remove belongings from view
- Secure vehicles
- Never leave keys inside
In addition to practicing these prevention methodologies, drivers should park in areas that are well-lit, in view of surveillance cameras (if available), and near heavy foot and vehicle traffic. The more thieves feel threatened by detection, the less likely they are to focus on targets in such areas. So please join us during the month of July by spreading the awareness within your communities to watch you car, take your keys, hide your things and lock your vehicles. Protect It, It’s Yours.