Even the victims of car thieves seldom realize how serious this crime is.  Stolen vehicles can be used for transporting criminals to and from their illegal activities, to carry contraband such as narcotics, weapons, illegal aliens and slaves, for identity theft and can be sold in order to fund additional criminal activities.  July is the traditional peak month for stealing cars. On average one is taken every seven minutes in Texas. In 2010 there were 68,220 stolen while another 261,166 were burglarized.
Law enforcement agencies statewide have designated July as “Watch Your Car Month,” and will be working to remind drivers that unlocked vehicles (whether or not they are occupied), leaving keys in parked cars and having valuable property and/or merchandise in plain sight in vehicles are all invitations for crime.  Peace officers will be distributing anti-theft material to drivers and issuing mock tickets to those who get careless. Law enforcement will also be more in force at high-risk locations such as gas stations, grocery and convenience store parking lots, daycare facilities, shopping centers, entertainment centers, fitness centers, and larger businesses’ parking lots.
Program manager Michelle Lanham emphasized the gravity of the situation.  “We cannot stress enough that drivers must take an active role in preventing auto theft and burglary,” she said.  “By leaving vehicles unlocked and unattended with keys in the ignition and property in full view drivers might as well be giving thieves open invitations to steal their property.  Individuals who step away from their running vehicles for only a minute to pay for gas, a soda, drop off a child at day care, or engage in other perceived ‘quick’ activities are providing the opportunities thieves look for every day.”
For more information on the Texas Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority please call (800) CAR-WATCH or visit www.txwatchyourcar.com.