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Texas Department of Insurance
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November 30, 2022

Five reasons to always lock your car or truck

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A bar chart showing Texas auto thefts for 2017-2019. There were 77,489 auto thefts in 2019, 69,817 in 2018, and 68,041 in 2017.

Locking up your car or truck might seem a little thing. But always locking up protects you and your property.

Here’s why to lock up:

  • Theft happens a lot. In the U.S., a car is stolen once every 39 seconds. And car theft went up 6% in 2021, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
  • Theft costs money. The average loss per Texas motor vehicle theft topped $12,000 in 2020.
  • Leave your keys, risk your ride. Driver error, such as keys left in a vehicle or leaving it unlocked, is a factor in about half of all auto thefts. In Texas in 2017 through 2019, more than 17,000 stolen vehicles involved keys left in the car or truck.
  • Burglaries happen fast. A criminal can grab valuables in seconds. The crime that police call “sliding” targets unlocked cars briefly parked at stores such as gas stations. A thief sneaks up one side of the vehicle, opens a door, slides in, takes items, and slips away. The Houston Police Department has warning videos on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Lock up as soon as you’re in your car. Car or truck doors may automatically lock once you’re driving. But locking up as soon as you get in the driver’s seat better protects you from surprise break-ins.

Learn more

Auto theft and insurance: How to protect your ride

Car burglaries and break ins are increasing. Here's how to protect your car (podcast)