TEMPLE, TX – The Temple Police Department continues to see a significant increase in the number of stolen vehicles within the city.
The first three months of 2020 shows a 91 percent increase when compared to 2019, with 84 reported incidents in 2020, and 44 in 2019. March 2020 alone shows 38 reported thefts compared to 12 in March 2019. Out of the number of stolen vehicles this year, 74 have successfully been recovered so far.
According to Temple investigators, a large portion of these vehicles were either unlocked, or had keys in the ignition when they were stolen. The department also has 12 recorded incidents this year in which firearms were stolen from unlocked vehicles.
"This is a huge concern for us that could lead to more serious issues. These weapons can fall into the wrong hands, and have the potential of being used to commit other crimes," said Interim Chief Jim Tobin. "We are asking everyone to not leave firearms unattended in your vehicles overnight."
Temple PD has released videos on social media showing footage of how potential thieves quickly check vehicles for valuable items or unlocked doors. The department will continue to monitor residential areas and post regular reminders of this issue via social media. It is the belief of Temple PD that education is the first step to crime prevention.
Tobin continues, "We want to keep reminding residents to please park in well lit areas, lock your doors, and remove your keys and valuables. Do not make it easy for these criminals to take advantage of our hard-working community. We need to look out for one another, especially in these trying times."