Vehicle thefts surge in San Antonio, over 14,000 cases reported in 2023

San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) data shows a rise in property crimes, with motor vehicle thefts leading the way. More than 14,000 people in San Antonio were victims of vehicle thefts from January 2023 to September 2023, according to SAPD data. That’s over a 62% increase in vehicle thefts from the same time frame the year before.

Business owner loses two cars in one night

Jesus Torres, a business owner who lives in a safe neighborhood and owns nice cars, was shocked when he walked out of his front door 10 days ago to see his vehicles were missing. He had a 2018 dark green Chevy Silverado and a red 2017 Lexus NX200T parked in his driveway.

Vehicle thefts surge in San Antonio, over 14,000 cases reported in 2023
Vehicle thefts surge in San Antonio, over 14,000 cases reported in 2023

“When we opened our door, both of our cars were gone. Now I have to be paying for rental out of pocket because I don’t have rental with my insurance company,” Torres said. He’s spread the word on social media, hoping someone can help him find his cars.

“It’s caused, obviously, a financial burden on myself. And also, I mean, these are just material things, but it also leaves you with an emotional burden,” Torres said.

Kia and Hyundai owners continue to be targets

During a Public Safety presentation on Tuesday, SAPD Chief William McManus said Kia and Hyundai owners continue to be targets, seeing a significant jump in those vehicle thefts to over 600 Hyundais reported stolen in the last two years and over 4,600 KIA reports.

McManus said the thieves are using devices that can bypass the key fobs and start the cars without them. He advised the owners of these vehicles to use steering wheel locks or other anti-theft devices to deter the criminals.

SAPD offers tips to prevent vehicle thefts

SAPD also offered some tips to prevent vehicle thefts, such as:

  • Always lock your doors and windows
  • Never leave your keys or valuables inside your car
  • Park in well-lit and populated areas
  • Use an alarm system or a tracking device
  • Report any suspicious activity to SAPD

SAPD said it is working with other law enforcement agencies and the auto industry to combat the vehicle theft problem. It also urged the public to cooperate and report any stolen vehicles as soon as possible.

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