Theft on the rise this holiday season


by Melissa Mahadeo / KVUE News with photojournalist Derek Rasor

Posted on December 8, 2012 at 10:17 PM

Updated Saturday, Dec 8 at 11:08 PM

AUSTIN -- This season, don't turn your holiday fun into a holiday hardship.

“People who don’t have the means to shop in the manner that we traditionally shop, they shop for your vehicles. They shop for your property,” said Sergeant Felecia Williams-Dennis with Austin Police.

According to police, it takes only two and a half minutes for your vehicle to be burglarized in the state of Texas.

Sgt. Williams-Dennis said auto thefts are already up 12 percent this year compared to last year.

So, the Austin police department is asking the public to take extra precautions this season and always make sure their doors are locked.

“You think you do it but sometimes you forget about it,” said Williams-Dennis.

She said don't leave a spare key available either because chances are thieves know where it is hidden.

“The center console, the glove box or the ash tray or under the wheel well,” are all examples of typical hiding spots she said.

Williams-Dennis said when holiday shopping, make sure your bags aren't visible in the car and don't carry too many at once because that makes you a walking target.

“Don’t put yourself in a position where your hands are so occupied you can’t defend yourself or you couldn't call for help, or something like that,” she said.

Home burglaries are up 2 percent this year compared to last year. Williams-Dennis said to take extra precautions to keep your home safe if you leave town this month.

She said since it is only the first week in December, the percents will likely go up.