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Fighting Back: Auto Burglaries On The Rise Across Austin

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 05:07 PM CDT

The Austin Police Department Burglary Unit has seen a citywide increase in burglaries of vehicles.  The burglaries are occurring in residential driveways, apartment complex parking lots, fitness centers, restaurants, convenience stores, malls, and other parking areas.

"It is a crime of opportunity,” said Austin Police Corporal Anthony Hipolito. “It takes less than seconds to break your window and steal something that's in plain view.”

Police say thieves are breaking into vehicles where valuables are left in plain view.  In some cases, vehicles are left unlocked and thieves are simply opening doors and stealing whatever they can. Financial crimes such as identity theft and credit card abuse are then committed with some of the stolen property. 

"People don't think it's going to happen to them,” said Hipolito. “They think, I'll just leave it here until the morning, they don't want to take inside their house to make it secure.”

APD reminds residents to protect their vehicles by taking precautions that will make them less of a target:

Lock Your Car - don't make it easier for a thief to enter your vehicle
Park in well-lit areas - More than half of all vehicle thefts occur at night
Don't leave valuables in plain view - don't make your car a more desirable target and attract thieves by leaving valuables in plain sight

If you are going to hide valuables in trunks or rear compartments, try to do so before arriving at your destination.  Thieves watch for people to hide valuables in their trunks and tend to target those vehicles. 

And never leave your car running, even if you will only be gone for a minute. In Texas, leaving your key in an unattended motor vehicle is a crime.

By Adam RacusinFighting Back: Auto Burglaries On The Rise Across Austin

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