This year, at least two Central Texas police departments have been using social media as a way to help combat car burglaries.
Hewitt and Robinson police departments are posting every night at 9 p.m. to remind residents to lock their vehicles and hide their valuables. The effort came after a spike in car burglaries of unlocked cars in those areas.
"It's a reminder, these are the things you are supposed to do. Go out and check your vehicle, make sure it's locked, remove any property that's in it. Take your keys, secure your residence, and lock your doors,” Hewitt Police Chief James Devlin said.
The police department started posting the reminder nicknamed ‘The Hewitt Hustle,’ a month ago. Before then, Devlin said the month before that, there were 10 burglaries of unlocked cars reported.
He added in 2017 several of those crimes involved unlocked cars too.
"87 percent of these offenses were from unlocked motor vehicles, meaning a huge percentage of these offenses could've been prevented,” Devlin said.
The social media campaign aims to make the 9 p.m. routine happen so residents make it a habit.
"We've lost high-end purses, laptops, iPads, cell phones, charger cords, change, firearms,” Devlin said.
In Robinson, the police department and the city’s public information department have also partnered up to prevent car burglaries. Since Jan. 26, they started posting on Facebook and Twitter reminders about locking their doors and taking their valuables inside.
According to Robinson Police Lt. Tracy O'Connor nine car burglaries were reported last December. That number increased to 19 last month. Since they started their 9 p.m. routine known as ‘Rock It Outside’ and added more officers to patrol neighborhoods, there have not been any burglaries reported.
"We've designated extra personnel for the preventive patrol. We haven't had one reported burglary. I don't want to jinx us by any means but we have been rather fortunate,” Lt. Tracy O’Connor said.
Both police departments plan to continue posting about the 9 p.m. routine in the future.
" We want to get our residents involved. Even we protect one person that day from having that happen to them, then it was a success," City of Robinson's Director of Public Information and Communication Destiny Delillo said.
— Hewitt PD (@HewittPD1) February 7, 2018
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