Killeen saw a rise in the number of vehicle thefts during 2013, according to statistics released by the Killeen Police Department earlier this year.
Raw data submitted to state and federal officials for the annual Uniform Crime Report showed the number of vehicle thefts increased from 192 in 2012 to 202 in 2013.
That 7 percent increase isn’t lost on Detective Leion Guinn with KPD’s General Crimes Division.
He said car thieves usually break down stolen vehicles for parts to sell.
“Most vehicle thefts occur between midnight and 6 a.m.,” Guinn said. Most stolen vehicles are parked overnight on the street or in parking lots at apartment complexes.
“They’re getting hit really hard,” he said.
The most common vehicles taken are pickup trucks, especially models from the 1990s through early 2000, police said.
American sports cars, such as Dodge Chargers and Avengers, also are a top prize.
When it comes to preventing vehicle theft, much of Guinn’s advice is common sense: park in well-lit areas and avoid leaving items such as purses and cameras inside the vehicle.
“If you have a garage, keep the vehicle inside,” he said.
Guinn said subscribing to a vehicle security service, such as OnStar, which can track a stolen vehicle, is an option.
“It’s really worth the money,” he said.
If a vehicle is stolen, Guinn said it is important to file a report with police as soon as possible.
He also advised keeping a copy of the vehicle identification number outside the vehicle. The VIN is often a vital piece of information that police can use to identify a vehicle.
Cars aren’t the only vehicles stolen. Guinn also said he has seen thefts of motorcycles, particularly Harley-Davidsons, rise in the last month or so.
However, unlike lighter, race-style bikes, stealing large motorcycles is no easy task, said Jonathan Sanders, a sales consultant at Horny Toad Harley-Davidson in Temple.
“The lightest bike that Harley-Davidson sells weights 600 pounds,” he said. “In some cases, you’re talking about a half-ton bike being stolen.”
Like Guinn, Sanders said it is best to keep a motorcycle parked inside a garage, if possible.
New Harleys have an optional alarm system that can disable the bike’s ignition using a key fob and emit an “ear-piercing” alarm. Many of the bikes also allow riders to lock the bike’s front end, making them more difficult to roll away.