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Auto Theft Prevention
Auto Theft Facts
A car is stolen in Texas every 5 minutes. No matter what kind of vehicle you drive; old, new, car, or truck, you could be the next victim. The following information could help keep you and your vehicle safe.

Stolen Cars Last Year
Last year in Texas, car thieves stole nearly 100,000 vehicles, and in almost half of those crimes, they had an accomplice; The vehicle owner. It is estimated that 50,000 stolen vehicles in the state had the owner’s keys left in them.

Prevent Auto Theft

  • Lock your car, almost half of all vehicles stolen were left unlocked
  • Park in attended lots. Auto thieves do not like witnesses and prefer unattended parking lots
  • Don't leave your car running unattended. Vehicles are commonly stolen at convenience stores, gas stations, ATM's, etc. Remember, it is against the law (Transportation Code Chapter 545.404) to leave your keys in your vehicle while it’s running and unattended. An offense under this section is a Class "C" Misdemeanor.
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Completely close car windows when parking. Don't make it any easier for the thief to enter your vehicle
  • Never leave your purse, wallet or keys in your unattended vehicle
  • Always hide your valuables from sight, including laptop computers, CDs, briefcases, address books, mobile electronics, shopping bags and clothes
  • Do not keep your vehicle registration receipt, mail or other items that have your name, address and personal information on them in your car. Auto burglars can use this information to burglarize your home or steal your identity
  • Avoid leaving the garage door opener visible in your car. It may be used by the burglar to gain entry to your home

Auto Theft by County in Texas
Top 20, via 2004 FBI Uniform Crime Report. These five counties accounted for 71% of auto thefts in Texas:
  • Bexar (San Antonio)
  • Dallas
  • Harris (Houston)
  • Tarrant (Ft. Worth)
  • Travis (Austin)

These 15 counties accounted for 17% of auto thefts in Texas:
  • Cameron
  • Collin
  • Denton
  • El Paso
  • Fort Bend
  • Galveston
  • Hidalgo
  • Jefferson
  • Lubbock
  • McLennan
  • Montgomery
  • Nueces
  • Potter
  • Webb
  • Wichita

Texas H.E.A.T. Program

The Help End Auto Theft (H.E.A.T.) is a statewide vehicle registration program administered by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to help law enforcement officials identify stolen vehicles. The program calls for drivers to place decals on their vehicles, authorizing law enforcement officers to stop your car when it:
  • Is operated between 1:00 am -5:00 am statewide
  • Crosses the border into Mexico

To participate in H.E.A.T., register online or download an application and mail it to DPS.