By TONY EIERDAM
SAN ANTONIO — The Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority (ABTPA), part of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV), reports that auto theft in Texas has decreased 61 percent since 1991.
There were 163,837 vehicles stolen in Texas in 1991, when ABTPA was formed, and the latest figures from 2011 show that auto theft has dropped to 63,379 stolen vehicles, according to the Texas Uniform Crime Reports.
“While this is a significant decrease, Texans should not be complacent,” said Charles Caldwell, director of ABTPA. “Auto crime accounts for millions of dollars in economic losses and is a bridge to other serious crimes.”
In 2008, ABTPA added auto burglary to its purview. ABTPA also reports that auto burglaries decreased by 14.8 percent between 2008 and 2011. Auto crime includes burglaries (stealing the items inside a vehicle) and theft (stealing the entire vehicle).
“Think Like a Thief” is the campaign message Texans will see and hear around the state during “Watch Your Car Month” this July. ABTPA will use various forms of advertising as part of this educational effort. Ads will appear on gas station TVs and at movie theaters, as well as on radio and the Internet.
“We are asking Texans to use Watch Your Car Month to evaluate whether or not they’re doing all they can to reduce the likelihood that they’ll be a victim of auto crime,” said Caldwell.
Locally, Mineral Wells Police Department Chief Dean Sullivan said the two reports reflect about the same as auto burglary and theft trends in Mineral Wells.
In 2012, just 15 auto thefts occurred in Mineral wells.
"Over the past 14 years, it is has been sporadic," he said. "In 2011, we only had 23 incidents of auto theft reported, but if you compare that to 2004-05 you can see we had 54 incidents.
"It kind of runs the gambit in our community. Last year we had the lowest number of incidents since 1999."