Auto theft spikes during the holiday season; Lubbock most suscep

Auto theft spikes during the holiday season; Lubbock most susceptible in the state

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Part of enjoying the holiday season includes making sure your car is secured.

Nearly 25,000 vehicles were reported stolen nationwide during the holidays in 2016, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. 

Of those, about 2,300 were reported on Black Friday, alone.

Jennifer Anderson, with the South Plains Auto Theft Task Force said there are many reasons why there is a spike in auto thefts during the holiday season. 

"When they are enjoying the holidays, it's hard for them to remember to cover their belongings that they're leaving in their car, if they're shopping, or leaving their cars running. Leaving key-less entry fobs in the cars, and you can take off with those," Anderson said.

In fact, Lubbock is the hottest spot for auto thefts in the state, according to a 2017 report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

There were 1,630 people, per 100,000, reported last year.

"Right now, it's the coldest time of the year, so keep a blanket in your car for other reasons along with covering your packages, and cars are full of presents and shopping. It's the last thing you think of that something is going to happen to you," Anderson said.

Ashley Knox, with South Plains Mall, said with high visitor traffic during the holiday season, especially this week, people should be more aware than usual. 

"Take that extra pause once all the doors are closed on your vehicle and hit lock again. Whether it's on your key fob or on the outside of your car where you can hit the button to make sure the door is locked, just take that extra step. The extra: I'm for sure my vehicle is locked," Knox said.

Anderson said the bottom line is it is better to be safe than sorry when leaving a car unattended.

"Just take everything out at night especially, because you're a victim. You can't watch your car all the time. Especially if your car is parked outside. If it's in a garage, it's understandable, but if it's parked outside, you need to make sure to get everything out of sight," Anderson said.

Knox said one measure the mall is taking to help prevent these crimes is an increased security detail during the holidays.

"Be aware, but also know we have security here on site and they're easily accessible. You can call them, you can also text concierge and they can get in touch with our security officers, so there are lots of ways to stay in communication as you're out here shopping this season as well," Knox said.

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