Brazos County District Attorney using crime data to crackdown on car burglaries

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - The Brazos County District Attorney's Office is using crime data to identify those responsible for a large number of vehicle burglaries in our communities.

District Attorney Jarvis Parsons is using the data to fast-track punishment for those crimes and get thieves off the street. Parsons says that vehicle burglaries are keeping law enforcement from tackling some of the bigger issues in our communities.

Since January, 640 vehicles have been broken into in College Station. Last year at this time, that number was a little more than 700.

"They are just literally going all night, hitting 60 to 100 cars and just tapping the door handles to see which ones are open,” said Parsons.

"They were stealing guns, iPads and computers and other valuables,” he said.

According to Parsons, those calls were not only filling up the courts, but taking valuable time from police.

"They outnumber our burglary of habitation cases. They also outnumber our burglary of building cases,” he explained.

Parsons wants to change that. He's looking at the numbers and breaking them down by defendant. Looking at the data, Jarvis saw three people were committing 41 percent of the burglaries. His solution is to fast-track the prosecution in those cases.

"If they had a felony case and they had misdemeanor cases attached to it that were burglary of motor vehicle, we were making sure that we were being aggressive on those cases,” said Parsons. “Because they are not just committing a drug crime, they were committing three to four burglary of motor vehicles."

In just three months, Parsons and his team have put three people in jail with longer sentences. He says several more cases are pending.

"This is where I think prosecution is going and, frankly, I think it makes sense,” he said. “If we’re using data to drive decisions, it's better than hunches. When we use our data, we're actually being smart about what we're doing, we're being smart about what we prosecute."

Parsons says his office will partner with College Station police to reinforce their message about property crimes and remind residents to lock their doors.