AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police are asking citizens to be extra vigilant when it comes to protecting their cars and homes. Region IV District Representatives in South Austin say they’ve seen several cases where thieves took garage door openers from cars and broke into the home.
It’s a scary tactic that has Shane Cunningham on edge. His car was recently burglarized, and the thieves took his garage door opener.
“I do feel violated, I feel unsafe in my own home. I feel like this guy or woman is watching me when I leave, just for the right opportunity,” said Cunningham. “And who knows, he may enter my house when I am home.”
Cunningham says while everything else stolen in the car can be replaced, his sense of security cannot.
“It’s a lot more concerning knowing they have access into my home.”
Drivers are advised to keep garage door openers in a purse, or invest in a garage opener that attaches on a key chain. Or, you can secure the opener in a locked glove box.
If a garage door opener is stolen, you’re advised to report it and contact the garage door company to have the garage door opener reprogrammed.
Cunningham says he filed a police report online but was never contacted by a detective. APD tells KXAN that car burglaries are inspected by sector detectives, who also cover other property crimes and crimes against persons. With hundreds of cases, they say it can be difficult to contact every victim.
APD says Cunningham’s case is suspended until they get new information or evidence.
“To all the residents in Austin, bring your garage door opener in with you at night, take it in with you, just like you would your set of keys,” Cunningham advises fellow homeowners. “You don’t leave your car keys in the car.”
APD says burglaries in Austin neighborhoods cost people over $1.3 million a year in property alone.
From June 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, there were over 10,400 car burglaries reported citywide.