Several hundred vehicles are jammed inside a fenced-in compound near downtown Houston that could easily be mistaken for a seedy used car dealership, says the Houston Chronicle. Police officials offered a look inside their normally closed impound lot yesterday while launching their “Watch Your Car” public awareness campaign to combat the growing car-theft problem. A car is stolen every five minutes in Texas and every 25 seconds nationwide. “This is a multibillion-dollar industry,” said police Lt. Victor Rodriguez. “If it were a legitimate business, it would be in the Fortune 500.”
“It’s still the most costly crime in Texas and one of the most costly crimes worldwide,” said Galveston County sheriff’s Lt. Tommy Hansen, president of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators. In its campaign, the police department will erect billboards across the city to warn motorists about car thefts. It recommends registering cars with the Department of Public Safety’s HEAT (Help End Auto Theft) program.