Thieves Love Dallas County's SUVs, Pickups

Tracking devices help lower number of stolen vehicles

What do Chevys, Cadillacs, Fords, Dodges and GMCs all have in common? Thieves in Dallas County love to steal them.

LoJack reports the five most stolen and recovered vehicles in Dallas County include the Cadillac Escalade, the Chevrolet Silverado, the Chevrolet Tahoe, the Dodge Ram and the GMC Yukon.

"Any type of preventative device you can have on your vehicle such as those things that can prevent auto theft or help us apprehend the cars thieves, you're much better," said J.D. Harris of the North Texas Auto Theft Task Force.

Many new vehicles now come equipped with LoJack, Onstar or other tracking systems, and they seem to work. Nine out of every 10 stolen vehicles with LoJack, for example, are later found.

"Every police department in the Dallas-Fort Worth are going to have trackers," Skinner said. "And if your car gets stolen, the LoJack signal gets turned on, and you're going to have a fast, quicker response."

But overall, the number of stolen vehicles in Dallas County is down.

"A lot has to do with LoJack and systems similar to LoJack," Skinner said. "Plus there's a lot more awareness now about how to keep your car from being stolen."

The North Texas Auto Theft Task Force reports the number of stolen vehicles has dropped about 30 percent in the past two years.

"The trends that we see is because of the technology of the newer vehicles -- the ignition systems are more sophisticated, the computer systems are working hand-in-hand with the ignitions -- so it's getting harder for the common thief to come out there and steal one like they used to do by busting the steering column or overriding the ignition system," Harris said.

Break-ins and burglaries are now a much bigger problem, with many vehicles hit simply left because their owners left them unlocked.

"Fifty percent of all vehicles still in the state of Texas are left unlocked, and 20 percent still have the keys left in them," Harris said. "We're still trying to get the message out there, but things still happen."

"Texas is an SUV, pickup state," said Bill Skinner of LoJack Corp. "The auto thieves know that, and so those are the vehicles they steal because that's the vehicles they're going to make money on."

LoJack said Texas has the second-highest rate of stolen and recovered vehicles, after only California. And Dallas County tops the rest of the Lone Star State.

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