July 30, 2010 4:50:29 PM PDT
They are crimes of opportunity. Car burglars striking often in broad daylight and getting away in seconds. Through our exclusive Crime Tracker, we're noticing a spike in crime in the Lower Kirby area. An overwhelming number of women we talked with tend to take care of their errands during the day because they think it's safer. Many of them are equipped with a safety net, just in case.

Whenever Demetra Davis pulls into a gas station, her safety is the first thing she thinks about.

"I just call somebody, one of my friends or a co-worker and say I'm at XY gas station getting some gas and I'll call you when I get back in the car," said Davis.

Not a bad idea, since earlier this month a woman was robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight at the very same gas station in Lower Kirby.

"These days, you have to be alert," said concerned resident Carol Minze. "You can never be too careful."

"I always look around me to see who's around. If I see something suspicious , I don't stop, I keep going," said Sadie.

"We tell our parents don't leave any valuables in their cars," says Nanci Bauerle, director of Children's Place at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church on Buffalo Speedway. "We just sent out an email telling them how one of our parents had their car broken into in the Kroger parking lot. It's scary."

Bauerle says moms are easy targets because a lot of times, they have their hands full with the kids so they leave their purses in their cars. They've had at least five vehicle break-ins in the past six months.

What's more, thieves have also been breaking into vehicles stealing whatever they can also in the Lower Kirby area near the Southwest Freeway.

"People say it's the economy, other people say it's a crime of opportunity, basically," said Lt. C. Weatherly of the Houston Police Department.

Vehicle burglaries are up citywide, including the police beat where Lower Kirby is located. Overall, they're up 28 percent in the 1 Adam 50 beat through July 19.

"They're not targeting specific cars, specific colors. They're looking in the windows, looking for briefcases anything that looks valuable," said Lt. Weatherly.

"Always be aware of your surroundings," said Marianne Lacy.

Police patrols are about to be stepped up as a result. Officers tell us they are stunned at the number of people who leave valuables in plain sight, and are warning people to hide them and to lock their car doors.


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