Thieves targeted cars and trucks for burglaries in Houston, on average, 99 times per day in 2013, and downtown Houston leads the list of areas most prone to the crime, according to data calculated by Local 2 Investigates.
The Houston Police Department recorded more than 36,000 total incidents of motor vehicle burglaries last year, the most recent full year of data available.
Burglary of a motor vehicle is not the same as auto theft. A BMV, as it is known to police officers, is a break-in.
Laptop computers, cellphones and even auto parts, such as mirrors and wheels, are often targeted in these crimes.
To see which neighborhoods are especially prone to burglaries of motor vehicle, with the most recent data, Local 2 sorted uniform crime reporting data by neighborhood.
Police departments are required by law to generate and maintain uniform crime reporting data, and it is an essential tool in spotting crime trends and identifying high-crime areas.
Local 2's sorting revealed 36,305 burglary of motor vehicle records in approximately 450 Houston neighborhoods. Neighborhoods are determined by the city of Houston’s planning department and coded by number along with other data points.
HOUSTON NEIGHBORHOOD - BMVs in 2013
- Downtown: 584
- Sharpstown: 568
- Walnut Bend: 548
- Houston Heights: 545
- Midtown: 477
- Bordersville: 415
- Willowbrook: 394
- Almeda-Genoa: 378
- Greenspoint: 293
- Melrose: 291
Crimes large and small can also be categorized by premises. Uniform crime reporting standardizes locations to fit into one of 126 categories. For example, premise code 02B means the crime occurred at a bank; 20M a mobile home; and 20D a driveway. Local 2 Investigates sorted the top 10 geographical locations for motor vehicle burglaries by premise.
PREMISE - BMVs in 2013
- Apartment Parking Lot: 473
- "Other" Parking Lot: 389
- Driveway: 326
- Road/Street/Sidewalk: 303
Restaurant Parking Lot: 174
Police have maintained for years that the two easiest ways to avoid becoming a statistic is to lock your vehicle and remove valuables.
One more interesting sidebar: Local 2 Investigates found that motor vehicle burglaries are so pervasive across the city of Houston, 88 percent of the crimes happened outside of the top 10 neighborhoods.