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2015-12-24

Tips to avoid vehicle thefts during holidays

Contributed

Law enforcement administrators with the Texas Department of Public Safety remind Texans about the potential for vehicle thefts during the holiday season. They advise individuals to take extra precautions to guard against possible auto thefts. Vehicle burglaries are also a concern during the holiday season.
"The holiday season is a busy time for everyone - including criminals. DPS urges Texans to do what they can to keep vehicles and valuables safe from possible thieves," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "The months of December and January can be prime times for auto theft and burglaries. It is important to always lock car doors and store valuables out of sight."
In December 2014, 5,717 automobiles, pickups and motorcycles were recorded stolen, making it one of the highest months for vehicle thefts that year - outside of the summer months. In addition, more than 13,190 vehicle burglaries were reported and $13.3 million in property stolen last December, also making it one of the highest months that year.
DPS offers the following tips that Texans can follow to help protect against vehicle theft:
• Never leave a car running unattended, even for a quick visit to a business or store.
• Never leave keys in the car or ignition, inside a locked garage or in hide-a-key boxes.
• Always roll up windows and lock the car, even if it is parked at home.
• When possible, always park in high-traffic, well-lighted areas.
• Install an anti-theft device that locks the steering wheel, column or brakes, especially if the vehicle is considered to be at increased risk for theft.
• Never leave personal documents, vehicle ownership title or credit cards in a vehicle.
• Always keep valuables or property hidden out of sight or locked in the trunk.
Stolen vehicles should be reported to law enforcement immediately. DPS also encourages individuals to keep a copy of their license plates and vehicle identification numbers on hand in case of theft, since officers will need this information to take a report.
For more information about auto thefts and burglary, see http://www.txdmv.gov/motorists/consumer-protection/auto-theft-prevention.