Anti-Theft Auto Clubs Could Prevent More Serious Crimes

They're bright, sturdy and easy to use - most importantly " auto-theft clubs could prevent vehicles from getting stolen. Even more so, if you drive a Chevy Tahoe, Ford F-series vehicles, any SUVs TM (and) any vans," San Juan Police Chief Juan Gonzalez.

Those are the most popular cars for thieves to steal, according to Gonzalez.

He said in San Juan alone, $1 million worth of cars were stolen last year. To fight the thefts, police gave away hundreds of anti-theft vehicle clubs Saturday. They also registered drivers with the Texas Department of Public Safety's "HEAT" or Help End Auto Theft program.

Virginia Martinez was one of the residents who registered with the program.

Because of the size of the little protection device, I really didn't know that (the club) was probably the most effective protection for the vehicles, Martinez said.

Gonzalez said a club on a steering wheel discourages criminals from trying to take-off with cars.

He adds it can also help deter crimes like aggravated robberies and even human smuggling across the border.

"Those stolen vehicles lead to violent crimes, Gonzalez said. They're used in the commission of burglaries, they're used in the commission of violent crimes and home invasions. Smugglers - human traffickers - they want vehicles so they can carry human loads and also so they can transport marijuana."

Mary Alice Ditto was surprised to learn her van is a popular target for carjackers.

However, with her free club, Ditto said she feels a bit less worried.

"It's worth a try, Ditto said, anything you can do to prevent your car from being stolen is to your advantage."