Car thefts are on the rise in Wichita Falls and you don't want to be a victim.
We can do our part in helping to prevent thefts of our cars and belongings even if we're no where around when thieves start prowling. About 169 vehicle thefts have been reported so far this year. The majority of those thefts were of items left on the front seat or the doors being left unlocked. Sargeant John Spragins of the Wichita Falls Police says,"What the bad guys are gonna do is they're gonna walk through parking lots, they're gonna walk through apartment complex's. They're gonna go through there and they're gonna walk through neighborhoods. They'll go through there and just every car they see, they'll pull up on the handle and see if it's unlocked. And if it's unlocked they're gonna get in there and get whatever they can."
Leaving things like pocketbooks, GPS's, Ipods, computers, and shopping bags make your car more enticing. What's worse is, what most women keep in their pocketbooks-their wallets. Which contain credit cards, a driver's license, medical cards, etc. All of which can be used for identity theft. Once an identity has been stolen it can take years to find the perpetrator and get your identity back.
During our conversation, Sgt. Spragins told me it takes no time to break a car window. So, I went to Wichita Auto Salvage where they were kind enough to show me just how fast and easy it is to break a car window. After a brief ride on a bright yellow, door-less, salvaged jeep, I found out first-hand what it takes, and it wasn't much. Clutching a tire iron, he gave it a good swing. I heard a loud bang then another followed by a crash, it took less than ten seconds to break into the car.
LEADSONLINE.com is a website where you can sign up to record the serial numbers from your electronics and post pictures of valuables without serial numbers such as jewelry. These numbers and pictures go into a local and national database, that can only be accessed by police when entering stolen property. This gives residents added piece of mind and allows police to identify stolen property and return it. Otherwise if a victim can't provide serial numbers the stolen property can't be returned and will eventually be auctioned off.
Remember there are a few simple steps to stay vigilant and protect yourself from burglars, "log your serial numbers of your items, and remember to lock your doors on your vehicles, and remove those items of value from the vehicle if possible or hide them", said Sgt. Spragins. He also, said do not put a blanket or jacket over things in your car because they are still noticeable, rather it is best to put them under the seat or simply take them with you.