How car thieves are changing their tactics during the pandemic

HOUSTON – Before the pandemic, a motor vehicle theft occurred about every seven minutes in Texas. Lt. Tommy Hansen, the chair of the Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority, said it is now closer to every six minutes.

“We’re just seeing a massive increase in the numbers of thefts,” Hansen said. “We’ve got anywhere from 10% to almost 40% increases in certain areas of the state of Texas.”

Lt. Hal Barrow, a leader with Galveston County auto thefts division says 2020 has produced a massive jump in cases. There 576 cases from January to October.

“We’ve seen a 39.9% increase,” Barrow said.

Changing criminals

Sgt. Tracy Hicks is with the Houston Police Department’s auto-theft division.

“The criminals have changed,” she said.

Shifting from empty shopping centers and restaurant parking lots to apartment complex garages and subdivisions.


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