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Texas car thefts drop, burglaries rise

Auto thefts have dropped dramatically in Texas, but the Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) is warning car owners not to let down their guard - burglaries of automobiles are on the rise.

In 2007, thieves in the state made off with 94,000 vehicles worth $859 million. But auto thefts are down 58 percent since 1991, ICT said.

Car thieves usually target cars that are 10 years old or more. The most popular vehicles targeted by thieves are the 1995 Honda Civic, the 1991 Honda Accord and the 1989 Toyota Camry, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

"Unfortunately, most owners of older cars have abandoned their comprehensive auto insurance coverage and are only paying for state mandated liability coverage," said Mark Hanna, a spokesman for ICT. "This leaves them without any insurance protection if their vehicle is stolen, but there are several anti-theft devices on the market that can help them secure their vehicle."

Although auto thefts are down, auto burglaries are skyrocketing, according to ICT. Drivers who leave expensive electronics such as GPS units and laptop computers in plain sight are leaving themselves open to burglary, ICT said.

ICT said it has advised motorists to lock their cars, take their keys and hide their possessions.

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