ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Car burglaries and theft have become a major problem in Odessa. Over 40 auto thefts were reported to the Odessa Police Department this month. Another 67 auto burglaries were reported. Police say they are now over the monthly average of 2015.
"The vast majority are stolen simply because the owner leaves a spare key in the vehicle or a spare key or a key in the ignition. Out of all stolen vehicles, we are able to recover approximately 80 percent of those. So, we have been busy lately," said Cpl. Steve LeSueur of the Odessa Police Department.
Police say a widespread problem is people don't lock their doors and leave valuables in plain sight. Police recommend drivers remove valuables, weapons, spare keys, checkbooks and especially personal documents.
"What happens is these auto burglaries are leading to much more serious crimes, such as identity theft, vehicle theft and other crimes. What the suspects are doing is they are actually stealing vehicles and then using them to commit much more serious crimes," said LeSueur.
Raids Online is a helpful website for residents to check and see the crime going on in their area. Although police say most car burglaries have been random throughout the city.
"It's not one particular area, it's basically all throughout the city limits. It is nice because people want to know what types of crimes are occurring," said LeSueur.
If you have any information on a car burglary, auto theft or have surveillance video from a crime, call Odessa Crime Stoppers at 432-333-TIPS.