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Texas Department of Insurance
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April 15, 2021

Car burglaries and break-ins are increasing. Here’s how to protect your car

Auto thefts and burglaries were up in Texas and across the nation last year. We talked to Sgt. Tracy Hicks with the Houston Police Department’s Auto Theft Crimes Task Force about how thieves pick their targets, what they’re really after, and how you can protect your car.

Where do car break ins happen?

Sgt. Hicks said popular targets for auto burglaries include parking lots at restaurants, gyms, and even convenience stores.

Criminals have learned that people going to gyms won’t store their valuables inside gym lockers. So criminals hang out in gym parking lots and watch people put purses in trunk or hide wallets in cars. Then they quickly break into the car to steal the item.

How can I hide things in my car?

The first place that crooks look in a car is the center console, the glovebox, under the seat, seat pockets in back, and the door panels. They check the five places where everyone hides their stuff.

Sgt. Hicks said guns are a popular target in car burglaries today because they have a high resell value. If you need to leave a gun in your car or truck, Sgt. Hicks recommends getting a small gun safe for your car.

Do thieves target certain cars?

Older cars are targets for theft because they’re easier to break into, Sgt. Hicks said. Thieves steal older cars to commit other crimes.

What cars are most likely to have catalytic converter stolen?

Sgt. Hicks said police are seeing a spike in thefts of catalytic converters. The parts contain a few grams of precious metals, making them valuable to resell. Thieves often target hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius because it’s easy to remove the converter and the metals are less likely to be corroded than in a gas engine car. If you drive a hybrid or a Prius, you may want to consider buying a casing or converter lock to protect your catalytic converter from theft.

Anything we can do to prevent a car from being stolen?

Lock your doors, roll up your windows, and always take your keys with you. Park in a garage or a well-lit area. If you have an alarm or a starter kill system use it every time.

Does insurance cover my stolen car?

A stolen car is most likely to be covered if you have comprehensive auto coverage. Those policies will also cover high value parts like a catalytic converter or an airbag.

Does insurance cover what was stolen from inside my car?

Property stolen from your car could be covered under your home or renters insurance. It depends upon the policy and your deductible.

Visit tdi.texas.gov for other tips. Or call our Help Line 800-252-3439.