APD issues report cards to bring holiday theft awareness

It's that time of year when thieves are on the lookout for your prized possessions in your car. The Austin Police Department is doing their part by bringing awareness to the dangers of car theft in a unique way.

Pass or fail? How would you do if an APD officer graded your vehicle for being a target for thieves this holiday season? Around the holiday season, there is an increase in property crimes, and APD wants to make sure Grinches don't steal your Christmas. Justin Cummings is an officer for the Austin Police Department “We are out here every day pretty much, getting to know the community, getting to know the problems, problem spots they have and doing the best we can to try to bring down statistics a little bit. A way that we are doing that is we are doing report cards, vehicle report cards,” he said.

During the holidays officers have a mission to educate drivers about how easy it can be for thieves. “It takes a few seconds for somebody to break your window, or open your car door, steal your car, or steal your valuables,” Officer Cummings said. 

Drivers we spoke with said they are guilty of leaving things in their cars, but try to hide it, “Little things like change, but I always put away my Easy Pass, and if I have anything like even just a bag, I'll put it under the seat just to make sure it's hidden,” Anna Henglebrok said.

But APD said even with just little things in sight such as cell phone chargers, you won’t pass their test. “I don’t really pay that much attention to it I guess. I leave my car charger out, I guess I could be more careful with that,” said driver Matthew Larosa.

There's no penalty for the report card APD leaves on drivers windows, but officers hope it's an eye opener for those people who failed the test. “Take your keys out of the vehicle; never leave any type of items of value. No loose change, no cell phone charger, no GPS, leave nothing in your vehicle for a thief to see so they can break in,” said Officer Cummings.
To pass the test with flying colors, officers said drivers should follow the HLT rule.

-Hide your things.
-Lock your car.
-Take your keys.

Along with the report cards, APD said they are also stepping up patrols in areas with high property crime.

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