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2016 Houston Auto Thefts


Barring a life-threatening collision, there are few experiences worse for a proud car owner than to returning to your vehicle after a long day to find it not there. Did you misplace it, forget where you parked it? Or was it stolen? At A Abana Auto Insurance, we’ve compiled a study of vehicle theft trends in the Houston area, based off statistical data from over the past seven years (2010-2016) provided by the Houston Police Department1.
 

Quick Facts

Overwhelming majority of vehicle thefts perpetrated through parking lots (60% in 2016)
Bay Glen, Bay Oaks, Brook Forest, and Bay Forest have seen a 117% increase in thefts
Greenspoint is a neighborhood with the fourth highest # of car thefts in 2016

Overall Trends

2016 saw a 4% decrease in reported vehicle thefts in Houston when compared to 2015, a year which itself saw a 1.8% decrease compared to 2014. Though auto thefts in 2016 have increased by a margin of 1.18% compared to 2010, 2016 represents a sizeable decrease when compared to the influx trend of auto thefts between the period of 2012 to 2014, which saw an incremental rise in incidents year-to-year between 6.8% to 3.4% to 1.8%. Despite this overall decrease, the Houston area overall still ranks 38th in motor vehicle thefts per capita per NICB’s 2015 reporting.

2016 Vehicle Thefts by Neighborhoods (Click to Enlarge)

The majority of vehicle thefts in the Houston metropolitan area are concentrated in the outlying neighborhoods such as Greenspoint, Northwest Mall, Brookhollow, White Oak Acres, Oak Forest and Langwood. Areas such as Bay Glen, Bay Oaks, Brook Forest, and Bay Forest saw a 117% increase in vehicle thefts compared to 2015, while recreational areas such as the Astrodome, Six Flags Astroworld, Almeda Mall, and Plaza del Oro have also seen a spike in vehicle theft activity.

Below is graph detailing the number of auto thefts throughout the Houston area in 2016, with the neighborhoods of Almeda Mall, Southridge, Edgebrook, and South Houston Gardens leading the charge with a reported 451 instances of auto theft, while the neighborhoods of Northwest Mall, Brookhollow, White Oak Acres, Oak Forest, and Langwood come in second with a combined number of 285 reported auto thefts. Perhaps most notably is Greenspoint, a neighborhood that alone ranks as Houston’s highest probable area of auto thefts with 279 reported instances in 2016.

Neighborhoods with Most Auto Thefts in 2016

The top neighborhoods for auto thefts are also neighborhoods that tend to experience higher levels of other crimes. Below are the neighborhoods and the number of reported motor vehicle thefts for 2016.

Almeda Mall, Southridge, Edgebrook, South Houston Gardens - 451 (up 16% Year over Year)
Northwest Mall, Brookhollow, White Oak Acres, Oak Forest, Langwood - 285 (down 5% Year over Year)
Southwest Memorial Hospital, Burnett Bayland Park, Westmoreland - 280 (down 20% Year over Year)
Greenspoint - 279 (down 27% Year over Year)
Concourse South, Westwood Mall - 269 (down 17% Year over Year)

Neighborhoods with Least Number of Auto Thefts in 2016

The neighborhoods with the least number of auto thefts tend to be more affluent and have smaller overall populations, with none of these communities having more than 20,000 residents.

Tall Timbers, Royden Oaks, River Oaks, Avalon Place, Oak Estates, River Oaks Country Club - 4 (down 69% Year over Year)
Saddlebrook, Bayou Woods, Sherwood Forest - 12 (down 40% Year over Year)
Bay Glen, Bay Oaks, Brook Forest, Bay Forest - 13 (up 117% YoY) - top gainer % wise, but small number stolen
Eastwood, Broadmoor - 22 (down 37% Year over Year)
Port of Houston, Clinton Park, Pleasantville, Fidelity Manor - 32 (up 7% Year over Year)

Largest Annual (2016 vs. 2015) Percentage Increase

The award for the highest annual growth in motor vehicle thefts goes to the southeastern communities of Bay Glen, Bay Oaks, Brook Forest, and Bay Forest with a combined 117% increase in reported thefts. Tying into the trend of auto theft epicenters correlating to outer fringes of Houston, the city limits saw a significant 35% bump in auto thefts compared to 2015.

Bay Glen, Bay Oaks, Brook Forest, Bay Forest - 117% (13 vs 6)
White Oak Acres, Brook Hollow, Oak Forest, Garden Oaks, Shepherd Park Plaza - 50% (69 vs 46)
Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Meadow Green, Oakbrook West, Camino South - 46% (32 vs 22)
Memorial Park, West End, Ashbury, Cottage Grove - 44% (140 vs 97)
City Limits - 35% (96 vs 71)

Largest Annual (2016 vs. 2015) Percentage Decrease

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises to come out of the annual summary of vehicle thefts in the Houston areas is the close-knit proximity of neighborhoods showing a decrease in thefts surrounding neighborhoods with thefts otherwise on the rise. The greatest example of this in the Houston area are the neighborhoods of Tall Timbers, Royden Oaks, River Oaks, Avalon Place, Oak Estates, and River Oaks Country, which have seen a 69% decrease in auto thefts since last year compared to adjourning districts such as Memorial Park, Post Oak Park, Cherryhurst, and Fourth Ward.

Tall Timbers, Royden Oaks, River Oaks, Avalon Place, Oak Estates, River Oaks Country Club - 69% (4 vs 13)
Saddlebrook, Bayou Woods, Sherwood Forest - 40% (12 vs 20)
Allen Farms, Airport Gardens, Hobby Airport area - 38% (35 vs 56)
Eastwood, Broadmoor - 37% (22 vs 35)
Gulf Palms, Beamer - 34% (74 vs 112)

2016 Where Vehicles are Stolen From

Over 60% of vehicles stolen in 2016 were unattended. Over 218 vehicles were stolen at gas stations, likely aided by drivers leaving the vehicle running while going inside the store the perfect opportunity for a would-be auto thief.


Parking Lots -
60%
Driveway/Off-Street - 20%
Street - 14%
Gas station - 2% (most of which were unattended)
Other - 4%

 


Sources
1http://www.houstontx.gov/police/cs/index-2.htm
2A Abana Manipulated Data Spreadsheet