I had dinner last week with some friends at a restaurant in the River Oaks area. When I went to my car, I noticed the driver’s window was cracked in a couple of places. It was dark, and I assumed that I picked up some debris off our awful streets. But when I got home and parked in my garage where there was some light I saw that three of my side windows had what looked small bullet holes in them. It was only then that I realized someone had tried to break into my car.
My experience was just one of what appears to be an epidemic of automobile break-ins occurring around the City. HPD’s most recent monthly crime report (May 2018) shows over 5,700 thefts for the month. That is one about every seven minutes. While the HPD reports do not specify how many of these are car break-ins, the vast majority show they were committed in a parking lot. And that does not count the people, like me, that don’t even bother to report the break-in to the police because we know nothing will be done.
This tool allows a thief to break into a car and grab anything left inside within a matter of seconds.
For some reason, my thief was not able to completely break the windows and get inside the car. I have a new car. I don’t know if the glass has been improved or my thief was just incompetent. And even though he was not able to steal anything from inside my car, he still did about $2,500 worth of damage not to mention all the hassle that goes with getting the repairs done and dealing with the insurance company.
It would be great if HPD would make auto break-ins a priority. There are specific tactics like using bait cars which have proved effective. I suspect that it is a relatively small number of perpetrators committing these thefts. With 50-100 arrests I am guessing you would see a significant drop in break-ins. But considering that the City has cut about 100 positions from the HPD budget this year, I don’t think we can expect too much help from the police.
This is a crime of opportunity. If you do not leave anything in your car, there is no reason for a thief to break into it. In my case, the only thing I left was my blazer on the back seat. I guess the thief thought there might be a wallet in the jacket. I can assure that in the future, everything goes into the trunk when I get out the of car. I suggest you do the same.