4 Houston areas where thieves are stealing parts off cars and trucks the most

Jessica Willey Image
Thursday, October 20, 2022
Houston crime: ABC13 neighborhood safety tracker shows 4 areas where thieves are stealing parts off cars and trucks the most
Data found that overall, theft of car parts has nearly tripled since 2019. In addition to catalytic converters, we're seeing thieves taking tailgates, wheels, and tires at an alarm

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Since October 2021, the number of reported thefts of parts from motor vehicles has nearly tripled in the city of Houston, according to ABC13's new neighborhood safety tracker.

Houston police reported almost 17,000 cases of auto parts thefts, like catalytic converters and tailgates, over the last 12 months, through mid-October. That is nearly three times as many as in the year before the pandemic, when the police received about 5,800 reports of parts theft citywide.

Houston Police Department Auto Theft Sgt. Tracy Hicks said the number one driver is catalytic converter thefts. Thieves have been targeting them for nearly two years, and some of the thefts have turned violent. Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Almendarez was off-duty when he was shot and killed in April, as he confronted the thieves who were stealing his truck's catalytic converter.

"Crooks will steal anything from a car that they think they can turn a quick dollar on," Hicks said.

That means tail lights on newer model cars for the computer chips, tailgates for the backup cameras, and catalytic converters for the precious metals. Wheel and tire thefts are part of the equation as well.

ABC13's Data team found four areas with the most explosive growth:

  1. In and around NRG Park is the highest, with reports quadrupling in just a few years. There were 150 cases in 2019. Over the last 12 months: 628.
  2. The Bush airport, in all directions (including airport parking) rose by six times. There were 100 cases in 2019. Over the last 12 months: 599.
  3. The area near Northwest Mall had the most reports of car parts thefts in 2019 with 243. While it's not the top spot anymore, the reports grew to 518 in the last 12 months.
  4. In the Greenspoint area, car parts thefts numbered 136 in 2019 and have grown to 516 over the last 12 months.

The western edge of Kingwood has also seen an increase. There were 10 car parts theft reports in 2019. The last 12 months: 156. That's a rise of nearly 15 times.

Hicks says these crimes happen mostly during the day, in shopping center parking lots and near freeways. He suggests getting a car alarm, locking your tailgate, and getting a plate to cover your catalytic converter. Thieves target mid to large SUVs for catalytic converters.

"(Hardening) our targets is really our only option," Hicks said.

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