Amarillo, TX - The Panhandle Auto Burglary and Theft Unit is working towards preventing auto crime in our area.
Last December 193 auto burglaries were reported in our area, so far this month only 108 have been reported. However, Shimika Campbell, Crime Prevention Coordinator for the Panhandle Auto Burglary and Theft Unit, feels the numbers are still not low enough. She said the unit is trying to become proactive rather than reactive by tracking current crimes and applying their findings to future patrols.
"We're tracking where those crimes are and it's up and down I-40, restaurants, the hotels, theaters, there's even been banks," Campbell said. "So those places that we've seen crime we are doing more operations to try and catch those criminals in the act."Campbell said increased patrolling isn't enough, and citizens have to get involved and be engaged.
Jerry Neufeld, Corporal of the Amarillo Police Department, said anyone can help prevent these thefts and burglaries. "Both of these are very easily slowed or stopped if we the public would do a better job of not leaving the keys in their car and not leaving your purse in the the front seat or your laptop computer sitting in the front seat," Neufeld said. "Just by removing those temptations we can really drive down the amount of auto burglaries we have or auto thefts."
For the holidays police urge not leave keys or any valuable items in unattended vehicles, and make sure they are completely out of sight, like in the trunk of a car.
Auto burglaries and thefts typically increase during the holidays. To further prevent these crimes the unit is hoping to get the public involved. In the near future they plan to release a public service announcement and have events that will educate the public about auto crime prevention. "In the future there will be safety fairs and those type of community events where we try and get the community involved," Campbell said.
The unit is also planning to involved businesses within the community to teach their employees about preventing auto burglaries and thefts, but they are questioning if that will be enough. "Why do you leave your purse in your car? Why do you leave your wallet in your car? Why do you leave your gun in your car? I don't understand that. I don't know what we can say different, I'm just hoping that we get through," Campbell said.