As many Dallas residents may know, crimes like auto theft and car burglaries have been on the rise for years.
The Dallas Express actually highlighted this alarming trend in its Crime Boss Series on Thursday, noting dramatic increases in year-over-year auto thefts for December in City Councilmembers Adam Bazaldua’s (D7) and Paula Blackmon’s (D9) districts.
However, car thefts and burglaries are a citywide problem, costing Dallas residents and visitors millions of dollars annually and further damaging the city’s already poor reputation for public safety.
The Dallas Express reached out to the Dallas Police Department (DPD) and asked for a lay of the land as far as vehicle-related thefts go, as well as what Dallas residents need to do to keep themselves and their property safe from criminals.
Senior Corporal Brian Martinez stressed motorists need to lock their doors.
“This seems like a simple tip, but many people leave their vehicles unlocked, and thieves looking for an easy target will walk through parking lots and neighborhoods checking vehicle door handles,” Martinez informed The Dallas Express.
He said that some of the more highly targeted areas these days are shopping center parking lots, parking garages, and even apartment and hotel lots.
“Please turn off the ignition and lock your door when you exit your vehicle,” stated Martinez. “Many offenses are taking place when people leave their vehicles running as they run in the store to pay for gas, to get a drink, or to let the car warm up.”
The Dallas Express asked if DPD had noticed any particular vehicles were being stolen more than others lately.
“Older Chevy trucks, SUVs, Ford F250s, and Dodge Rams are targeted. Newer vehicles are the Dodge and Jeep high-performance vehicles, along with newer GM model cars,” replied Martinez.
Most motor vehicle thefts this year have been happening around Central Dallas and the downtown area, in City Councilmen Jesse Moreno’s (D2) and Paul Ridley’s (D14) districts, according to a DPD crime statistics dashboard.
Martinez noted though, that there is a rising trend in stealing car parts directly off the vehicle.
The Dallas Express previously reported that catalytic converters have become hot-ticket items for criminals with a bit of mechanical know-how, but Martinez stated that tailgates are getting some attention.
“Lately, thieves have been targeting tailgates on trucks that are left unlocked. Tailgates can cost up to $7,000. Save yourself the time and money by locking your tailgate. You can purchase tailgate locks at any part accessory store,” Martinez urged.
“Tailgates are not outfitted with an identification number, so it is a challenge to properly identify and return it back to the victim,” he added.
Martinez had a few more words of advice:
“Call 9-1-1 to make a police report as soon as you notice your car has been burglarized or stolen. Also, be sure to call 9-1-1 to report any suspicious activity, persons, or vehicles.”