By the Numbers: Top Risks for Car Break-Ins

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Researchers behind a new study out of UT-Dallas said their numbers show certain patterns about car break-ins, specifically in the city of Plano.

    Researchers behind a new study out of UT-Dallas said their numbers show certain patterns about car break-ins, specifically in the city of Plano.

    The city's police department said data can only go so far to prevent the crime, if people don't take proactive steps to protect themselves.

    A new study is giving answers to one question many crime victims ask right off the bat: Why?

    Dr. Yongwan Chun, a geographer with a background in statistics with the University of Texas - Dallas, has compiled Plano police crime data.

    He's researching burglary of motor vehicles, and finding some common threads.

    In looking at numbers from 2004 - 2009, he's presenting three trends.

    First, he said it appears that being near a major highway significantly increases your chances of becoming a victim of a car break-in.

    "Burglars tend to escape from the crime scene as soon as possible," said Dr. Chun.

    Plano police also said they suspect it also may be a matter of convenience, specifically that many of the thieves are not from their city, making them less likely to want to drive extra miles to achieve the task at hand.

    Chun's research also shows in areas of higher home values, the rate of this crime goes down.

    However, where homes were vacant, it increased.

    "[That] has a significant association with vehicle burglaries," he said.

    While Plano police use a similar model to analyze their own data, they say the study doesn't include common sense factors.

    For example, they said a car burglary is a crime of opportunity, meaning where you live may not be as significant a factor as if you tend to lock your vehicle, hide your valuables and keep personal belongings out of plain sight.

    Plano Police spokesman David Tilley said in more than 70 percent of vehicle break-ins reported in their city, the car was left unlocked.

    Chun is currently working with data from 2010-2013, trying to narrow down statistical hot-spots or times of day these crimes are most likely to occur.