Auto thefts on the rise in Central Texas

Posted at 6:19 PM, Feb 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-28 01:44:49-05

KILLEEN, Texas — Auto thefts are on the rise in the U.S. — and Texas is no exception.

A recent study by QuoteWizard found that auto thefts are up 15 percent across the state of Texas. Depending on what city you're looking at, that number can is much higher than that.

”We found cities like McAllen, Laredo, El Paso, Sugarland, Richardson, San Antonio, they have all seen car theft increases of nearly 50 percent over the last decade,” said Nick VinZant, senior research analyst for QuoteWizard.

According to a crime summary, the Killeen Police Department put out in November of last year, auto thefts increased close to 95 percent between 2021 and 2022.

Most new vehicles come equipped with anti-theft systems like SiriusXM Guardian that comes on new vehicles at Nyle Maxwell in Killeen.

”It’s an app you download to your smartphone,” said Chad Drever, new car director for Nyle Maxwell in Killeen. “You can get alerts if your vehicle is being moved, you get alerts if your vehicle’s alarm is being triggered, you get alerts if has been stolen, and it can be used by police to locate your vehicle.”

While their new vehicles come with the SiriusXM Guardian system, their older used vehicles don't, but they can install the Mopar brand EVS security system that they say is just as good.

”It’s just as reliable and just as good,” said Drever. “We recommend that to our customers to protect their investment. So, we do that regularly.”

Even with the best security system out there, an experienced car thief can work around it and that is why there is a rise in thefts.

While Texas is actually on the lower end for increased thefts, that doesn’t mean that the number of thefts is small.

”We’ve seen car thefts go up as much as 100 percent in some states,” said VinZant. “The difficulty with that though is Texas already has one of the highest rates of stolen cars nationwide.”

Putting Texas 12th on the list and that’s why experts recommend making it harder for thieves.

Doing things like making sure you have a quality security and tracking system installed and parking your car in a well-lit area with the doors locked, can deter thieves because it takes much longer to access and steal your vehicle.