Crime and Safety

I recently attended our monthly Neighborhood Watch meeting. The Frisco Police Department kindly sent an officer to discuss recent trends in crime.  I wanted to share some of these items with you.

TAILGATE THEFT

Thieves are targeting trucks and stealing the tailgates. There were 7 thefts reported in Frisco one recent Sunday night. Three of them were on one street that had back alley entrances. This has been happening in large cities all over the country for about 5 years, but it is the latest crime trend to hit Frisco. Tailgates fetch easy money on Craigslist; up to $1,000. 

Here’s what you can do to protect your vehicle:

  • Lock it. An integrated tailgate lock, if available on your vehicle is there for a reason – to prevent the tailgate from being opened. A thief can’t steal the tailgate without first opening it, so be sure to lock the tailgate when you leave your vehicle. If your truck doesn’t have one built in, you can buy tailgate locks at your local auto parts store or online.
  • Park close. If you can’t park in your garage, back in and park as close to an object or structure as you can so there is no room to open the tailgate.
  • Etch it. Taking the time to have the vehicle identification number (VIN) etched into the tailgate itself will help speed recovery time. Etching the VIN may even prevent thieves from attempting to make off with it in the first place.

WHEELS AND SEATS

A few years ago, there were several vehicles around town that were put up on blocks and the wheels were stolen – right in the owner’s driveway. Removable 3rd row seats are also being stolen from larger GM SUVs and being sold on Craigslist. Third row seats can fetch anywhere from $250 to $500, depending on fabric and model of vehicle. They are a hot item. Both of these crimes are starting to creep into Frisco again. Most vehicles with removable 3rd row seats are affected. There is a local company, started in Frisco, now in Allen, that has developed a lock called “The Guardian” that was designed to lock down 3rd row removable seats. You can buy the lock from them for $95.00. http://3rdrowseatlock.com/more-info/. You can also order online from various resellers. Just Google “3rd row seat lock” and you should find it.

THE SIX-SECOND GARAGE DOOR BREAK-IN

Another crime trend that has been happening all over since 2010 is the “6 second garage door break-in”. The garage door is one of the most vulnerable entry-ways into your home. This crime has been reported in many parts of Texas, and across parts of the southeastern United States. Frisco PD thinks is just a matter of time before it hits Frisco. Here’s a video that explains it, and shows what you can do to protect yourself using a simple zip-tie. http://youtu.be/kSO_HTBHLFI

ATM and BANK JUGGING

“Jugging” has become a popular crime and is spreading in Texas. Houston has arrested 160 people in recent months and Austin has arrested nearly 50 people. “Jugging” is a process whereby someone sits in a car and watches (sometimes with binoculars) for people to visit the bank (usually the ATM). They watch for people who are withdrawing money and then they follow them home or to their next destination and then they rob them. To be safe, people need to always be aware of their surroundings. If you go inside the bank, make sure your money is put away before you leave the bank. If you go through the drive through, be aware of any cars that have people sitting in them, or those that appear to begin moving after you pass them. Also pay attention and watch for anyone on foot that could potentially approach you as you are at the drive-thru ATM machine.

If you believe you are being followed, you should take the opportunity to make 4 right-hand turns in a row to end up where you started.  If the person in the car behind you actually does the same thing, you KNOW you’re being followed. In that case, call 911 and tell the dispatcher that you just left the bank and that you are being followed. The dispatcher will stay on the phone with you, and will instruct you to drive to where officers will be waiting. Frisco has GPS tracking on all of the police vehicles and know exactly where they are at all times. Most likely, other officers will also be dispatched to the scene and they will be able to surround the suspect and take them into custody. They would rather you err on the side of caution and call 911 and it turn out to be nothing, than to risk being robbed, or injured.

CATALYTIC CONVERTERS

Catalytic Converter theft was a big deal a few years ago, and it appears to be creeping back in again. Not so much of a concern here yet, but just something to be aware of. Thieves crawl under the car, cut out the Catalytic Converter and sell the platinum, palladium or rhodium to scrap yards for $100 to $150. Based on my research, it seems that Dodge Ram trucks are the most likely targets because they are the easiest to remove. 

Catalytic converter thefts typically happen to vehicles that are parked for prolonged periods in large lots, such as shopping centers, mass transit commuter lots or company parking lots. Last year, there were quite a few at DFW Airport. 

Vehicles that sit higher from the ground, such as trucks and SUVs, are particularly vulnerable to catalytic converter theft because thieves can slide underneath without having to jack up the vehicle to gain access to the converter. With just a few cuts of a battery-powered saw, the catalytic converter can be stolen in less than a minute. 

To prevent catalytic converter theft, use common sense and follow these tips:

  • 

Always park in well-lighted areas
. At shopping centers and other similar parking lots, park close to the entrance of the building or near the access road where there’s a lot of traffic
.
  • If you own or work at a business or factory, park within a fenced area that’s busy during the day and secured at night
.
  • Purchase a vehicle security system and make sure it’s set to trigger with just the slightest motion
.
  • Visit a local muffler shop and have the converter secured to the vehicle’s frame with a couple of pieces of hardened steel welded to the frame
.
  • There are also different types of catalytic converter theft deterrent systems at your local auto parts store or online.

HOME SECURITY

One item that is important for your home is lighting. Make sure your yard and gates are well lit. Thieves target homes that are dark, where they can get in and out undetected. If you are not a member of your neighborhood watch, I would encourage you to become one. If your neighborhood doesn’t have Neighborhood Watch, contact Frisco PD they will help you get one started.

That’s all for now! Just be aware, watch out for each other and stay safe! With the population continuing to grow rapidly in our area, so will, unfortunately, the crime. We all have to do our part!

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Dawn Ladny

Dawn grew up in Southern California and moved to Frisco ten years ago. Now retired from the mortgage banking industry, she is actively involved in her neighborhood as the Neighborhood Watch liaison. She is also a graduate of the Frisco Citizen's Police Academy. Serving on the Board of Directors for Animals First Foundation of Texas - www.afftexas.org, she supports animal rescue in the DFW area and fosters homeless dogs in her home.

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