Before I dig into this topic I want to tell you this is from my experience when I first arrived in Austin I was a first hand witness to an incident in one of the better chain hotels parking lots. Austin Hotels Car Break-ins are far too common. In fact nearly every Road Side Hotel in the Greater Austin Area has experienced the.

The Hotel is had a problem with is located up north right next to a major freeway and did not look dangerous at all. But I will never stay there again. After that experience i began reading reviews in detail before booking anywhere. And the reviews of nearly every Hotel all over town from the Hotels by the Airport to way up North in Georgetown there are mentions of car break ins.

At one location I did book near the Domain as soon as I got there I noticed a person who looked like he was homeless walking around in the parking lot acting all sketchy and it was about 4pm! Dangerous area for Hotel patrons. I am a big boy I can take care of myself so I am not really in fear for my personal safety (Women and families might be), but I do care about the hassle of needing to repair my car. And I also do not want to have to get in a physical confrontation as that never ends well for anyone.

I have a real problem with criminals breaking into cars in Hotel Parking lots; who wouldn’t, and it makes me angry. These smash and grabs are happening all over the city especially in areas where the Hotels are located nest to major roads. The Hotels are putting in Cameras, but it makes no difference to the visitor what they capture in video after the fact. What is needed is prevention. No one is really offering a solution to the Austin Hostels Car Break-ins problem; no one!

The major players in Austin including Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, Holiday Inn, etc. are posting warning signs to alert their customers, but they are really not doing much more. This social gesturing is not going to prevent damage to your vehicle. A typical Hotel “Warning Sign” will say that they are not responsible for break-in damage (Even though it is occurring on their property) and to not leave valuables in your car. So what? Thee Criminal will break in and then look around. So even if you do not leave valuable your are at risk.

It’s Not Just Your Property in Danger It’s You Personal Safety

Sadly you are also at risk for your own personal safety because of the violence associated with smash and grabs. The industry as a whole looks at this as more of an insurance problem than a safety issue. The City pretends to care (My opinion). If they were truly doing something about it the numbers would be going down. This is a real thorn in the side of a City that has 30 million visitors per year. This should not be happening in Austin, but it is.

My best advice is to park as close as you can to your room. Try to get a room where you can see your car. Check on your car as much as you can (The crime can occur at any time of day). Make sure you leave your alarm on. And try to book a room in a Hotel that is not close to really high traffic areas (Very hard to do in Austin), And consider spending more to stay at a Downtown Property where security is greater and it is harder to commit the crime.

I did a little digging to find out more and there is a lot of good intentions behind curbing the problem, but it’s mostly just PR Bullshit. Outside of the Internet bubble of Social Media there is a real World and its dangerous.

Hotel Parking Lot Smash and Grab Crimes in Austin, Texas

Hotel parking lot smash and grab crimes have become a growing problem in Austin, Texas in recent years. These crimes typically involve thieves using hammers or other blunt objects to break into vehicles and steal valuables, such as cash, electronics, and jewelry.

Level of Crime

The perpetrators of hotel parking lot smash and grab crimes can be charged with a variety of crimes, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. These crimes can include:

  • Burglary of a vehicle: Burglary of a vehicle is a felony offense in Texas. The punishment for burglary of a vehicle can range from 180 days in jail to 20 years in prison, depending on the value of the property stolen.
  • Theft: Theft is a misdemeanor offense in Texas. The punishment for theft can range from a fine to up to 1 year in jail.
  • Criminal mischief: Criminal mischief is a misdemeanor offense in Texas. The punishment for criminal mischief can range from a fine to up to 1 year in jail.

Typical Cost in Damages per Incident

The typical cost in damages per incident of hotel parking lot smash and grab crime is difficult to estimate, as it can vary depending on the type of vehicle targeted and the amount of property stolen. However, it is estimated that the average cost of damages per incident is around $1,000.

What the Police are Doing

The Austin Police Department (APD) is aware of the problem of hotel parking lot smash and grab crimes and is taking steps to address it. APD has increased patrols in areas where these crimes are most common and is working with hotels to develop security measures to deter thieves. APD is also using technology, such as license plate readers, to identify and apprehend suspects.

What the City of Austin Government is Doing

The City of Austin Government is also working to address the problem of hotel parking lot smash and grab crimes. The city has allocated funding to install more security cameras in hotel parking lots and to provide training to hotel security personnel. The city is also working to develop a public awareness campaign to educate residents and visitors about how to prevent these crimes.

How to Avoid Being a Victim of Austin Hotels Car Break-ins

There are a number of things that individuals can do to avoid becoming a victim of hotel parking lot smash and grab crimes:

  • Park in well-lit areas of the hotel parking lot.
  • Avoid parking in secluded areas of the parking lot.
  • Lock your vehicle doors and windows, even if you are only leaving for a short period of time.
  • Do not leave valuables in plain sight in your vehicle.
  • Consider using a steering wheel lock or other anti-theft device.


According to the Austin Police Department, there were over 1,000 reported cases of hotel parking lot smash and grab crimes in Austin in 2022. This represents a 20% increase from the number of reported cases in 2021.

What Hotels are Doing

Some hotels in Austin are taking steps to address the problem of hotel parking lot smash and grab crimes. These hotels are installing more security cameras, hiring additional security personnel, and offering valet parking. However, many hotels are still struggling to keep up with the growing problem.


Hotel parking lot smash and grab crimes are a serious problem in Austin, Texas. These crimes can have a significant financial impact on victims and can also create a sense of fear and anxiety among residents and visitors. The Austin Police Department and the City of Austin Government are taking steps to address this problem, but more needs to be done. Individuals can also take steps to protect themselves by parking in well-lit areas, locking their vehicles, and not leaving valuables in plain sight.