HOUSTON (CBS Houston) As far as officials with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office are concerned, July is “Watch Your Car Month” and the HCSO’s Auto Theft Unit, in conjunction with the Texas Automobile Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority, are offering the following tips to help protect your vehicle and valuables:

• “Keep CDs, books, clothes and other personal belongings out of sight. Do not leave behind valuables, such as cell phones, laptops, instruments, purses or wallets.”
• “Stop idling. Whether you’re ‘warming up’ your vehicle or making a quick trip inside the gas station, running vehicles left unattended become tempting targets for thieves.”
• “Don’t leave loose change in the console or cup holder. Thieves may break into your vehicle even for a small amount of change.”
• “Store your garage door opener in your glove compartment or take it with you. Garage door openers allow access into your home. Thieves can use left-behind mail or an insurance card to learn your address.”
• “Ask valets and auto repair shops to not leave the keys in your vehicle if it will be unattended.”
• “Always keep your keys with you — never leave them in the vehicle.”
• “Lock your vehicle.”
• “Park in well-lit, high-traffic areas, and use a car alarm if possible. Kill switches are inexpensive and quite effective.”

Authorities also urge residents to practice vigilance when it comes to vehicle safety and well-being. Having a plan of action for leaving a car unattended while shopping or at work is also a great defense in curbing and deterring vehicle theft. Officials urge residents to remember where the car is parked and make sure that you have car keys in a safe as well as easily accessible place once you are ready to return to your car and drive. Thieves often prey on individuals who look lost or cannot locate car keys.


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