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HPD spreads message of prevention during "Watch Your Car Month"

HOUSTON – It's a stealthy crime that could ruin your whole day, and this month the Houston Police Department is helping to protect you from car burglary.

July is "Watch Your Car Month," and HPD investigators are spending the month educating the public to keep criminals away from their cars.

Officers say it can be as simple as keeping your valuables out of sight, locking your car and parking in a lit area.

"If it's a high-dollar target, they're just going to smash the window and go," Sgt. Tracey Hicks with the HPD Auto Theft Division said. "A lot of times, it's nothing valuable. People thin, 'I can just leave my gym bag in there, all it has is my dirty clothes in it.' But it's the cost of a window -- $400, $600 depending on the car." 

Police said there are about 2,500 burglaries of motor vehicles reported each month in the city of Houston, and the crimes have increased about 8 percent so far in 2016 compared to the same time a year ago. 

HPD posted a video to its YouTube channel showing that it takes a thief as little as five seconds to break into a car and make off with property.

The slogan from the Auto Burglary & Theft Prevention Authority is: "Protect It. It's Yours. Never Unlocked. Nothing In View."

HPD is among several law enforcement agencies receiving grant funding from the Texas Automobile Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority as part of the program.