If you live in Amarillo, chances are you know someone that has either had their vehicle stolen or broken into. There is a good chance that you yourself were the victim. We have talked about it time and time again how this area is a hot spot for vehicle related crimes. In a new study from AAA, Amarillo ranks high on the list of Texas cities that have the most motor vehicle theft.

Looking at the "rate per 100,000 inhabitants," Amarillo ranks #3 in the state for such crimes. While there are more crimes in larger cities like Houston and Dallas, our percentage is even greater than those metro areas. The only other two cities in Texas that are worse than us are Lubbock and Odessa.

Credit: AAA

Across all of Texas, over 65,000 vehicles are stolen each year and around 200,000 cars and trucks are burglarized. That is a big number to swallow, especially when you are on of the victims. The FBI says that nationwide a vehicle is stolen every 42 seconds totally $6.3 billion dollars per year. In Texas, they says that most the incidents involve drivers who leave key fobs in the vehicle or do not lock their vehicle. Those are such easy things you can do to help drop the number in Amarillo.

“There are many steps vehicle owners can implement to help prevent thieves from stealing their vehicle and valuables,” said AAA Texas spokesperson Daniel Armbruster. “Unfortunately, in many instances drivers are leaving their doors unlocked, key fobs or valuables behind, and that will only invite criminals to take advantage of the situation.”

 

AAA Texas says there are many simple things you can do to help cut the crime rate and protect your vehicular property:

  • Always lock your vehicle with the windows closed.
  • Never leave valuables inside the car, especially not in clear view, including small electronics, keys, purses, wallets, checkbooks, personal paperwork or any personal identification.
  • Bring electronics and personal items into your home or office.
  • Use anti-theft or automatic tracking devices. If your vehicle wasn’t equipped with an alarm or hidden tracking device when purchased, have one installed.
  • Never leave your keys in your vehicle, even at a gas station or at home.
  • Never hide a spare ignition key in your vehicle, including under floor mats, sun visor, etc.
  • Whenever possible, park your vehicle in a secure garage or a well-lit area at night.
  • Never leave the vehicle running at any time when you’re not in it. This includes your driveway, while picking up friends, or while at a grocery store, dry cleaner or shopping mall.
  • If you own a popular vehicle among car thieves, like an older Honda, find a secondary locking device for your vehicle and use it.
  • Beware of thieves stealing cars during test drives.  If you’re advertising a vehicle for sale online or on Craigslist, get driver’s license information of the prospective buyer and enough information on where they’re going to ensure the potential buyer will want to bring the car back.
  • Have windows VIN etched. Car window VIN etchings are small, but visible enough to deter thieves, according to law enforcement officials. Since car thieves frequently steal vehicles to sell off the automobile’s parts, a window that is VIN etched makes a vehicle less profitable for thieves and helps law enforcement recover stolen vehicles.