From Staff Reports
Pickups are not only popular among Texas drivers, they are also top targets for Texas vehicle thieves.
The Texas Department of Public Safety recently released its final MVT19 report on the top vehicles reported stolen in Texas during 2012. The MVT19 report is compiled monthly by DPS and represents vehicle theft data entered into the Texas Crime Information Center by all Texas law enforcement agencies.
An error margin of plus or minus 5 percent is assumed for incorrect entries by agencies. Based on the reports, as has been the case for many years, pickup trucks top the list of thieves’ most common targets for the year.
Coming in at No. 1 was the Ford pickup followed closely by the Chevrolet pickup at No. 2. In the No. 3 position, the Dodge pickup also remains a popular target for Texas thieves. The Honda Civic and the Chevrolet Tahoe round out the top five stolen vehicles.
The Top 10
The complete top ten list of 2012 most stolen passenger vehicles in Texas is:
1. Ford pickup
2. Chevrolet pickup
3. Dodge pickup
4. Honda Civic
5. Chevrolet Tahoe
6. Honda Accord
7. GMC pickup
8. Chevrolet Impala
9. Toyota Camry
10. Ford Taurus
Vehicles are stolen for a variety of reasons and, contrary to popular belief, most stolen vehicles are several years old. Some are stolen and stripped for parts. Others are stolen and resold by thieves to unsuspecting buyers. Many vehicles are stolen for joyriding, for use in committing other crimes, to perpetrate insurance fraud, to burglarize personal items and documentation,or for any number of other illegitimate purposes.
Vehicle theft directly costs Texans more than any other single crime – more than $621 million in 2011.
Personnel from the Texas Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority and the agency’s associated vehicle crime task forces remind Texas drivers that vehicle thieves are always looking for opportunities to steal. Vehicle owners should be aware that thieves can be lurking anywhere, and drivers should practice prevention techniques such as hiding contents that may be desirable to a thief, locking vehicle doors, and taking keys.
The Texas ABTPA, an office of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, has funded law enforcement programs specializing in vehicle crime investigation, recovery, prevention and prosecution since 1991. Since then, Texas has seen a 61 percent reduction in the vehicle theft total. Currently, ABTPA funds 29 task force grant programs statewide, allowing over 150 law enforcement officers throughout Texas to focus exclusively on the resolution of vehicle crime cases.
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 have 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).
ABTPA offers these vehicle theft-prevention tips:
• Keep CDs, books, clothes and other personal belongings out of sight. Do not leave behind valuables, such as cell phones, laptops, instruments, purses or wallets.
• Stop idling. Whether you’re “warming up” your vehicle or making a quick trip inside the gas station, running vehicles left unattended become tempting targets for thieves.
• Don’t leave loose change in the console or cup holder. Thieves may break into your vehicle for a small amount of change.
• Store your garage door opener in your glove compartment or take it with you. Garage door openers allow access into your home. Thieves can use left-behind mail or an insurance card to learn your address.
• Ask valets and auto repair shops to not leave the keys in your vehicle if it will be unattended.
• Always keep your keys with you — never leave them in the vehicle.
• Lock your vehicle.
• Park in well-lit, high-traffic areas, and use a car alarm if possible.