(HOUSTON) — Do you know where your vehicle is? Don’t be surprised one day if you find that it’s gone, stolen right from right under your nose.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau says a vehicle is stolen in the U.S. every 45 seconds. And if you own a car, truck or suv, you are vulnerable.
“You’ll never ever be able to fully protect yourself against a vehicle theft, against somebody that really has the means and the capability to be able to take it,” said Houston Police Department Auto Theft Officer James Woods.
But Woods adds, Houstonians are less vulnerable now, compared to the 80s.
“We had almost 40,000 vehicles a year being stolen,” he said. “Since that time, [it’s] down to 13 to 14,000 thefts in the last several years.”
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You might think the thieves would take the more expensive cars, but Woods says that’s not really the case, since many of them are equipped with sophisticated security systems. So what is most stolen in Houston?
“Pretty much in Houston, it always remains the same. It’s always going to be a pickup truck, because Texans love their pickup trucks,” said Woods.
It’s Ford, Chevy and Dodge trucks, followed by Honda and Toyota cars.
And only the newer vehicles, right?
Reformed car thief Steve Fuller emphatically says, “That’s not true.”
Fuller explains that older cars and trucks are easier to steal and easier to fence.
Woods says, they’re often stealing vehicles that are probably 15 years old or older. And then he says, “Some wrecker comes along, picks it up and then they sell it to a scrap metal processor,” with little trace of it left behind.