AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police say the number of burglaries of vehicles in Austin is up by almost half.
So far in 2019, the Austin Police Department received 1,999 reports of car break-ins. This time last year, they had received 1,374 reports. That’s a 45 percent increase for 2019.
“It’s definitely a concern and we take those concerns very seriously,” said Austin Police Officer Destiny Silva.
One of the most recent incidents was caught on camera in a neighborhood that’s right next to the Southpark Meadows Shopping Center.
The car’s owner showed us what his home surveillance captured:
“He got everything he wanted, went back, opened my trunk to see if anything valuable was there and closed that, closed the door, wiped his fingerprints off,” said the car owner.
The suspect is seen rummaging through the car for about five minutes. The owner told us the suspect got away with a few different items.
“The audacity of somebody to — not even just break in — but spend that much time in my vehicle. He wasn’t scared I can tell you that, definitely not his first time,” the owner said.
Silva told us APD has noticed the significant rise in burglary of vehicles.
“The department began to look at this,” she explained. “In fact, it’s one of the chief’s priorities to go ahead and start developing initiatives because we are aware that this is going on, and of course we want to combat these types of crimes.”
If someone breaks into your car, even if you don’t notice it right away, Silva said go ahead and call the non-emergency line, 311 and report it.
“That way we have information documented because who knows, maybe later on in another crime, we may locate that stolen property, and we need that documentation so we can go ahead and prepare a case.”
She said the number one prevention tip is to lock your cars because over half of the cars stolen or broken into are unlocked.
She also added, if you’re at a busy shopping center, park in well-lit areas or areas that have security cameras, and if you can, installing alarms or steering wheel locks will help.