By CLINT FOSTER
The holiday shopping season has officially arrived and there is no better time to remind readers of the importance of safe practices to prevent car burglaries and thefts.
According to the Texas Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority – a division of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles – a vehicle is burglarized every two minutes and stolen every eight minutes in the State of Texas. These statistics have a tendency to escalate between
Thanksgiving and Christmas when multiple drivers tend to be out shopping or visiting with family and friends and sometimes leave belongings in plain sight in the vehicle or forget to lock doors.
During 2012, Texas experienced 221,023 incidents of vehicle burglary and 64,982 vehicle thefts and, in some jurisdictions, more than half of these thefts occurred because the car doors were unlocked and the keys left inside, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. In Mineral Wells alone, there were 23 recorded cases of auto theft in 2011, albeit a much lower number than the 44 the previous year.
Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan offered similar advise to local citizens concerning auto crime during Christmastime.
“We’ve been fortunate in years past not to have a significant problem on the subject of people burglarizing cars during the holiday season,” he said. “But it’s a good time to remind everybody not to leave your keys in the car or your car running.
“If you’re out shopping, especially if you go to the Metroplex, hide your belongings, lock your car and take your keys with you. Those situations present opportunities for some criminal types that like to prey on the holiday public. We don’t want anybody to have a bad holiday because they got broken into or lost their car in the process.”
In a press release, Michelle Lanham, who is program coordinator for ABTPA’s Reduce Auto Theft in Texas public awareness task force at the Denton Police Department, said auto burglars tend to scout malls, shopping centers, entertainment venues, hotel and other business parking lots looking for vehicles to break into. This makes vigilance during this time of the year when those places are more frequented all the more important.