Cops grade drivers on safety awareness

HOUSTON A lot of us don't pay enough attention to our surroundings, and HPD is taking steps to educate the public about how to stay safe, especially during the busy holiday season.

You pull into a busy parking lot in the middle of the day and the last thing on your mind is crime. That, police say, is a big mistake. Houston police say during this time of year specifically, parking lot theft spikes very high. They say the thieves know they can get away with just about anything from a parked car.

HPD officers issued pass or fail report cards to more than 150 cars in a single parking lot. Officers found vehicles with purses, cell phones, packages and sunglasses in plain sight. They even found a car that had a purse in plain sight and the car wasn't even locked. The door was wide open.

Officers say even something as small as pocket change can be a bonanza for crooks.

"(Drivers) will leave change behind on their dashboard," explained Officer James Sobota. "People will see pocket change and they will break into your vehicle, and damage, break your glass, (cause) a couple hundred dollars worth of damage, just to get your pocket change."

Police officers say 55 percent of the cars in a single parking lot they canvassed Monday morning got a failing report card for their safety awareness. Even our news van got a failing grade, due to a dash mounted GPS system. Authorities recommend putting away your GPS system every single time you park your vehicle.

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