The Texas Department of Public Safety is reminding Texans about the potential for vehicle thefts during the holiday season and is advising individuals to takes extra precautions to guard against possible auto thefts. Vehicle burglaries are also a concern during the holiday season.

“The holiday season is a busy time for everyone – including criminals; and DPS is urging Texans to do what they can to keep vehicles and valuables safe from possible thieves,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “The months of December and January can be prime times for auto theft and burglaries. It is important to always lock car doors and store valuables out of sight.”

In December 2014, 5,717 automobiles, pickups and motorcycles were recorded stolen, making it one of the highest months for vehicle thefts that year, outside of the summer months. In addition, more than 13,190 vehicle burglaries were reported and $13.3 million in property stolen last December, also making it one of the highest months that year.

DPS offers the following tips that Texans can follow to help protect against vehicle theft:

  • Never leave your car running unattended, even for a quick visit to a business or store.
  • Never leave keys in the car or ignition, inside a locked garage, or in hide-a-key boxes.
  • Always roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it is parked at your home.
  • When possible, always park in high-traffic, well-lighted areas.
  • Install an anti-theft device that locks the steering wheel, column or brakes, especially if your vehicle is considered to be at increased risk for theft.
  • Never leave personal documents, vehicle ownership title or credit cards in your vehicle.
  • Always keep valuables or property hidden out of sight or locked in the trunk.

If your vehicle is stolen, report it to the police immediately. DPS also encourages individuals to keep a copy of their license plate and vehicle identification number on hand in case of theft, since police will need this information to take a report.

For more information about auto thefts and burglary, see http://www.txdmv.gov/motorists/consumer-protection/auto-theft-prevention.