AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin police have released the list of Top 10 stolen cars for 2012, and there are some familiar names in the lineup.
Most recently, police have already dealt with a rash of car break-ins in this year's first month. Thieves targeting cars in school parking lots have police in West Lake Hills on high alert after reports have come from at least three Eanes ISD schools -- plus a private preschool.
Top 10 list
- Honda Accord
- Chevy/GMC pickup
- Ford pickup
- Honda Civic
- Chevy/GMC SUV
- Dodge pickup
- Ford SUV
- Toyota SUV
- Toyota Camry
- Toyota Corolla
And car thieves are always gearing up for the hottest month: July.
Not only is it hot in July, but police said it's also the "hottest" month for car thieves.
The summer months in Texas have been proven to be the most popular times for car break-ins and stolen cars, police said.
It takes five minutes for thieves to snag a car and only 2 1/2 minutes to break into it, according to police.
Tips from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
- Hide your valuables. Items of value left in sight make your car a bigger target.
- Take your keys, and never leave another set in your vehicle. Some 20 percent of stolen vehicles have spare keys left in them making it easier for thieves.
- Lock your car. Almost half of all stolen vehicles are left unlocked by owners.
- Park in well-lit or heavily-trafficked areas. Thieves are less likely to break into cars if a lot of people are around.
- Never leave your car running unattended. Cars are often stolen at convenience stores, gas stations or when owners leave cars running to warm them up.
- Install a anti-theft device. Many insurance companies may give discounts for certain anti-theft devices. Check with your agent for details.
Taking a closer look at some 2012 break-ins
By the fourth month into 2012, police dealt with a dozen break-ins alone in the parking lot of the popular South Austin shopping center The Shops at Arbor Trails.
It became a hot spot for car burglars, with 12 break-ins reported to Austin police in just one month.
And even amid an encouraging FBI report that car thefts were reportedly down to the lowest levels in 20 years, police sent out a late-September crime alert in South Austin. That's where two men and a woman were suspected of entering cars in the Bridges of Bear Creek neighborhood through doors that were unlocked.
Late December also saw a rally while police focused on car burglaries in its Operation Santa's Helpers, in it's fourth year.
Every year in November and December, APD reports an increase in car burglaries. Operation Santa's Helpers works to get those numbers down.
That's why officers targeted the two areas where they typically see the most car burglaries in November and December: Southpark Meadows and Barton Creek Mall. The department put up electronic signs outside of both shopping centers to remind people to protect their belongings.
It seemed to make a difference. The number of car burglaries has dropped dramatically at both locations since 2009.
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