Tyler PD "Report Cards" Aim To Reduce Auto Burglaries - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/14/05-Tyler

Tyler PD "Report Cards" Aim To Reduce Auto Burglaries

Auto burglaries are one of the biggest problems in the city of Tyler.

Stats show, already this year, there have been almost 500 auto-break-ins.

Burglars strike at homes, in garages, and the stores and can make off with your property in seconds.

16-year-old Sinclair Walker learned that the hard way.

"See right here, this is where they broke in," Sinclair explained.

While Sinclair enjoyed a movie over the weekend, thieves helped themselves inside his truck. They broke his window, stole his radio, and took some cash.

"When I saw that, it was like this is my baby, they broke in to it," he said. "They invaded my personal privacy."

The items they took were in plain sight. That's a mistake many of us make, every day. That's why, Tuesday, Tyler police officers were thinking like thieves.

"The main reason we're doing this is to not point fingers at anybody, it's mainly to raise citizen awareness," said Sergeant Eddie Sheffield.

Slips of paper are the Tyler Police Department's "report cards." Officers walked the parking lot, looking in windows. If they saw anything a thief could easily spot, they left a card the windshield.

"We've seen everything from sunroofs left open due to the heat," Sergeant Sheffield said. "Windows rolled down far enough that someone could reach in and grab a door look or access or grab the garage door remote opener."

Many folks learned just how easy of a target they are.

"Property in plain view? What property?" Asked one shopper as he read the report. His satchel was in the front passenger seat.

Most of the cars in the lot, did not pass the test. CD's, phones, purses all visible. Tyler PD hopes the cards will raise awareness, so more East Texans don't end up victims, like Sinclair.

"Now, I'm taking extra precautions," Sinclair said.

Tyler police officers have some suggestions to help prevent auto burglaries.

They advise locking your personal items and shopping bags in the trunk, keep your cell phones out of sight and putting chargers inside the glove compartment.

They also suggest witting down serial numbers of CD players and radios in case they are stolen. The "Report Card" program is expected to continue throughout the summer.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com

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