‘It all needs protection these days’: San Antonio police, car shops push preventative measures with car thefts up

SAN ANTONIO – Car alarms going off can often be thought of as a nuisance. But to Joe Calvey, that sound is a call for attention.

“It’s more noise, more chance of being spotted,” Calvey, the vice president of Mother’s Window Tint, said. “We want to make it hard and unattractive to take the vehicle.”

Calvey sells multiple car alarms daily to help prevent car theft in San Antonio. Just one week ago, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus shared the crime statistics for 2023 during a public safety committee meeting. He reported that the city saw a 53% spike in car thefts.

“What’s driving that is a TikTok video that came out instructing people on how to steal a Kia,” McManus said after the meeting.

In 2023, SAPD reported the following vehicles as the most broken into across the city:

  • Rank number 1: Hyundai Elantra
  • Rank number 2: Ford F-Series
  • Rank number 3: Hyundai Optima
  • Rank number 4: Kia Sonata
  • Rank number 5: Chevrolet Silverado
  • Rank number 6: Kia Soul
  • Rank number 7: Kia Forte
  • Rank number 8: Dodge Ram Pickup
  • Rank number 9: Kia Sportage
  • Rank number 10: Kia Rio

San Antonio Police public information officer Ricardo Guzman said car thefts are crimes of opportunity, meaning the crime takes place without planning. Oftentimes, it happens when someone sees they have the chance to commit it.

He said the department’s top recommendation for preventing car thefts is removing valuables from your vehicles.

“A lot of times, criminals are looking for things they can use in crimes later, especially guns,” Guzman said. “Don’t leave anything worth of value inside your cars, laptops, backpacks, things you just bought. … That all attracts criminals to your vehicle.”

Guzman said the department also recommends drivers invest in a club steering wheel lock.

“This will not stop at 100%, but this is a way to deter crime,” Guzman said. “We’re recommending citizens to prevent vehicle burglaries and vehicle thefts, in this case, is going old school. Old technology works best.”

Calvey said he recommends alarms.

“With the alarm systems that we install, there is more difficulty to the actual theft of the vehicle,” Calvey said.

If your car isn’t on the top ten list from 2023, Calvey said there’s still a chance it could be a victim of car theft.

“I mean, you name it, it’s being taken in the city,” Calvey said. “It all needs protection these days.”

If you would like to learn more about crime statistics from the San Antonio Police Department in 2023, click here.

More coverage of SAPD’s 2023 crime statistics on KSAT:

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