Seguin police use burglary report cards to crack down on car break-ins

SEGUIN, Texas – The Seguin Police Department is working to reduce the number of car burglaries in the community by leaving burglary report cards on windshields.

These report cards are a way to raise awareness about this type of crime, while motivating drivers to change behaviors that may cause them to become victims.

“We have done this before, but we are wanting to do this again, where we would go through parking lots to see if people pass or fail,” said Tanya Brown, public information officer for SPD. “Sometimes, people don’t realize it until we put it in writing and put it in their window. It doesn’t cost anything. It is just a friendly reminder that, ‘Hey, we can improve in this area,’ and on the back of the card are areas to improve.”

There is only a pass or fail grade for motorists. Police would simply look inside a vehicle through a window as a burglar would and look to see if there is a possibility of a break-in happening. They then place the card face down on the windshield so nobody would see the results but the driver once they get back inside of the car.

“They pass if they don’t leave anything in plain sight. If they lock their vehicles, don’t have the windows rolled down and they fail if they have those things in view, that’s when a burglar can come and look in the window and see something they like and make a force entry,” Brown said.  

While passing out the report cards, police were able to provide explanations to those who failed.

“I told this one guy that a cellphone laying in his back seat would count as a fail. Most parents give their children broken cellphones as a form of entertainment, and when they get out of a car, those kids leave those phones on the car seats,” Brown said. “Bad guys do not think they are nonworking phones. They are just thinking to steal it.”

Brown said they typically choose big parking lots in front of businesses for a reason.

“We chose these locations because there are a lot of cars in one place that we can hit,” Brown said. “Plus, we know the drivers will return fairly quickly so that way the report card isn’t just sitting on a windshield for hours for burglars to see if they passed or failed in any way.”

So far, Brown said authorities have had to deal with 27 car burglaries. But they hope this initiative helps that number change.

“We would like to see a decrease or a reduction of those numbers for next year or in the months to come.”

The department also plans to issue other report cards to drivers for various reasons, such as how well a person parks.

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