LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
A rash of auto thefts in the southwest valley has drivers wondering what they can do beyond locking car doors. Las Vegas ranks 19th in the country for auto theft. It's been on the decline, but recently thieves have been targeting some specific brands.
Metro police said criminals are easily breaking into and driving off with Hondas and Nissans. It doesn't help in the summertime many people leave their cars running to cool off.
"Honda is just becoming a very popular vehicle for auto thieves," said Jose Hernandez from Metro police. "It just goes back to the ease of being able to break into these vehicles."
This month, Metro police responded to 34 car thefts in one week in the southwest part of Las Vegas. The majority of the stolen cars are 90s models Hondas and Nissans. Metro police said sometimes criminals steal cars for the parts, sometimes for the scrap metal and often times for simple joyrides to get to one part of town to the next.
"It takes only a few minutes. The criminals are dedicated for looking for an opportunity to steal a vehicle," Hernandez said.
The reason they're sought after is simple. Metro police said their parts are desirable to sell and the cars are easy to take. All criminals need is a screwdriver and hanger to break the locks and a metal plate to start the ignition. Jarrod Sibbit of Hondoctors has seen his share of damaged Hondas.
"Some cars will come in with just the ignition lock broken and some of the rubbers with the window broken," Sibbit said. "They've put in a wire to get the lock popped open."
Sadly, the repairs aren't cheap.
"Each claim will run anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 for just minor vandalism damage," Sibbit said. "It doesn't take a whole lot for the price to climb pretty fast."
"With everything else going on in our town, this is just one other area of crime that we have to direct resources in," Hernandez said. "If we are able to get some assistance by educating the public on certain things to look for, how to keep from being a victim themselves, that's a great help to us."
Metro police advised people not to leave their car running, don't leave valuables inside it and park in a well-lit area or a garage.
Auto thefts are on the decline in Las Vegas. Metro police said part of the drop is because suspects now have to pay $20,000 in bail to get back on the streets. That number was once as low as $3,000.
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