By Rodney K. Hays

Editor

Every 42 seconds here in the United States a thief breaks into a motor vehicle. While that number is quite a bit lower in Prosper, it is still on the rise.

According to police officer Erin Hubbard, the number of burglary of motor vehicles tripled last year and is on pace to break another record this year.

Hubbard said there were 26 reported BMVs (burglary of motor vehicles) in 2011. In 2012 that number grew to 78. Halfway through 2013 and the number is already at 58 reported BMVs.

"The year is only half over and we are quickly reaching the number we had for the entire year for 2012," Hubbard said.

Most of these crimes are easily prevented, she said.

"An important thing to keep in mind is that only about one percent of these were forced entry burglaries where the thief actually ‘broke into’ the vehicle," Hubbard said. "The majority of these burglaries are crimes of opportunity and the vehicles are left unlocked. Not only are the vehicles left unsecured, but valuables are left inside the vehicles."

Hubbard said thieves are looking for things that are easy to take. She said thieves will target: purses, wallets, cash, garage door openers, guns, GPS units, iPods, and other various electronics.

So now the Prosper Police Department is asking for help from the community to ensure that vehicles are secure at night.

"Try to park in your garage if possible and remove your valuables from your vehicles," Hubbard said. "Even if you think you locked your car, check it again before you go to bed. If your car has an alarm, use it.But the main thing is to lock your doors."

Hubbard said the police are that these BMV’s are from "people that walk through the streets just pulling door handles."

"One out of ten are unlocked. One of the things that hinders our investigations on BMV’s is that the owner gets in and touches everything or drives the car to another location before calling police. Prosper residents are lucky that they have a Police Department that will actually respond to take a report in person. Most larger agencies in the area will take a report over the phone only if there is no forced entry. Residents should take advantage of this by helping us preserve the crime scene. The less you touch and handle items, the better chance we have to get a good fingerprint or find evidence."

If a resident becomes a victim, the police department say its best to call them immediately. Don’t wait even a few hours. It’s also a good idea to have serial numbers for electronics or guns to make it easier to recover stolen property.

"Engrave your name or a unique marking on your items," Hubbard said.

If you would like more information about what you can do to protect yourself or your property, please contact dispatch to speak to an officer by calling 972-347-9002 or email Officer Erin Hubbard at erin_hubbard@prospertx.gov.

"Help us help you and don’t allow yourself to be a victim," Hubbard said.