Houston Police Department

Auto Theft Division - Theft Prevention


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  • Hide your valuables from plain sight to avoid attracting thieves.
  • Never hide a second set of keys in or on your car. Extra keys can easily be found by thieves.
  • Park in well-lighted areas or attended lots. More than half of all vehicles thefts occur at night. Auto thieves do not like witnesses and prefer unattended park lots. If you park in an attended lot, leave only the ignition or door keys.
  • Never leave your car running, even if youíll only be gone for a minute. Vehicles are commonly stolen at convenience stores, gas station, ATMs, etc. Many vehicles are also stolen on cold morning when the owner leaves the vehicle running to warm up. Leaving your key in an unattended motor vehicle is a crime in Texas.
  • Donít leave the registration, title, or insurance card in your card. A car thief will use these to sell your stolen car. File the title and registration at your home or office, and carry your insurance card in your purse or wallet.
  • Park with your wheels turned toward the curb and use your emergency brake. Make your car tough to tow away. Wheels should also turned to the side in driveways and parking lot.
  • If you have a garage, use it. If you have a garage, take the time to use it rather than parking outside where your vehicle is more vulnerable. Lock your garage and your vehicle doors.
  • Disable your vehicle when leaving it unattended for an extended period. Remove the electronic ignition fuse, coil wire, or rotor distributor, or otherwise disable your vehicle any time thieves may have extended access to it.
  • Engrave your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or personal I.D. number on expensive accessories and parts. Stolen cars/parts are more easily traced when VINís have been etched on car windows, major parts and expensive accessories.
  • Lock your car and take your keys. Approximately 50% of all vehicles stolen are left unlocked.

    The Next Level of Protection

  • Get an ignition or fuel kill switch. Splice an inexpensive toggle switch into your ignition wire or starter to stop it from starting. The fuel kill switch cuts off the flow of fuel when the switch is off.
  • Get locks for inside your car. Visible steering wheel locks prevent the steering wheel from being turned properly. Gas or brake pedal locks disable the fuel and braking functions. Gearshift locks disable shifting of the transmission by locking it in place. Tire/Wheel locks wrap around the wheel and prevent the vehicle from moving. Hood locks prevent the thief from gaining access to your security system and battery. An armored collar around the steering column protects the column and ignition.
  • Alarms emit a loud warning sound when the door, hood or trunks are opened. Optional sensors include glass breakage, motion tampering and towing. Panic buttons, back-up batteries, flashing parking lights, or headlights, and automatic engine disable features are also recommended.
  • Vehicle tracking. A silent transmitter hidden in a car enables the police to track it.