Auto Theft Division - Theft Prevention
Each month the Auto Theft Division will provide auto theft prevention techniques with reviews of various anti-theft devices, informational awareness issues, and local information with regard to areas of Houston where there is a statistical increase in auto theft related crimes. This information is designed to help keep you informed of theft prevention strategies that you can adopt to protect your vehicle and enhance your awareness of those areas where auto theft related crimes appear to be on the increase.
During the 90's a new and sometimes deadly crime has evolved throughout the country. It involves the theft of your vehicle by use of force or threat of serious bodily injury. Car-jacking can happen anywhere. It has occurred at intersections, ATM machines, shopping malls and inside residential driveways and garages. Any time that your are in your vehicle, you can become a victim. The criminal that wants your car may use it in the commission of another crime, sell it for major component parts, be responding to a "gang" membership requirement or simply want a car to drive rather than walk. Regardless of the motivation, it is a potentially deadly situation.
As with all crimes there are some commonsense measures that you can employ to avoid being car-jacked.
- As you approach your vehicle, check around and inside it before entering. If you observe a suspicious person or activity then do not approach your vehicle.
- Drive with the doors locked and the windows up.
- Whenever possible leave a "safety zone" between you and the vehicle in front of you at stop signs and traffic signals.
- Drive in center lanes where possible, avoiding the curb-side lane if practical.
- Avoid driving through high crime or unfamiliar areas, particularly late at night or early in the morning.
- Check your rearview mirror to make sure you are not being followed.
- Park in heavily traveled areas near entrances to businesses.
- Prior to exiting your vehicle, take the time to look around particularly at areas that could conceal a criminal.
- Do not park near vans, trucks or other vehicles where you cannot observe their interiors.
- Eating, sleeping, reading or applying make-up in a parked car is an open invitation to car-jackers.
- Car-jackers have been known to stage minor accidents so that they can approach your car. If your vehicle is bumped from behind and you don't feel comfortable with the individuals involved, drive to the nearest police or fire station.
- If you are confronted by a car-jacker, especially if the thief has a weapon, give up your car immediately and move away. Your life is more valuable than your car or possessions!