Insurance Council of Texas offers advice to curb auto burglaries/thefts

The Insurance Council of Texas (ICT), in cooperation with State Farm Insurance, is assisting police departments in Corpus Christi, Fort Worth and Frisco this week in a campaign aimed at preventing auto thefts and auto burglaries. This joint effort involves distributing signs that read, in both English and Spanish, LOCK your car, TAKE your keys and HIDE your belongings.

The brightly colored, metallic signs will be posted in business parking areas of each city urging motorists to take steps to prevent falling prey to criminals looking for vehicles to steal or burglarize. The first signs were installed today in Corpus Christi before the busy holiday shopping season.

Corpus Christi Auto Theft Task Force Lieutenant Colby Burris said the LOCK, TAKE and HIDE program is one of several crime prevention efforts that the police department utilizes to prevent auto burglaries and theft.

“We continue to see high numbers of auto burglaries and thefts where the targeted vehicle was left unlocked and valuables were left inside or in plain sight,” Lt. Burris said. “Part of our efforts to educate citizens is raising public awareness through strategic and directed placement of informative outdoor advertising.”

Lt. Burris said the signs will be placed in large public and private parking areas such as city parks, entrances to homeowner association neighborhoods, and other areas where there is parking congestion.

ICT and its member insurers want to help reduce auto theft and burglary given the high number of vehicles stolen in Texas and costs associated with replacing stolen vehicles. In 2017, Texas ranked second in the nation for auto thefts, with over 68,000 vehicles stolen. In addition to the hassle and burden of replacing a stolen vehicle, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), estimated in 2016 that the average dollar loss per vehicle was $7,680.

More than 200,000 vehicles were burglarized last year in Texas. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the value loss from both auto thefts and burglaries in the state amounts to $1 billion.

ICT spokesperson Mark Hanna said officers welcome any kind of deterrent for criminals, as well as good advice for drivers. “The Insurance Council of Texas is honored to be a part of a program that urges motorists to protect their automobile and their belongings through this simple message,” said Hanna. “The signs should also serve as a reminder for everyone to be aware of their surroundings when they are leaving and entering their vehicle.”

ICT started the crime prevention program in Austin on March 2, 2005, and has spread similar programs to 30 Texas cities.