New technology helps officers crack down on auto theft

New technology helps officers crack down on auto theft
Monday, June 16, 2014 - 5:37pm

As the weather heats up, many driver leave their windows cracked when leaving their car parked. This habit, according to officials, can be a draw for car thieves.

"{we see it all the time... we usually do it. I mean, I don't know what we can do because its so hot, said Auturo Angeles, resident of East El Paso.
Across the state, more than 65,000 cars are stolen every year. On average, 15 to 19 cars are stolen a week in El paso.
But with the help of funding and new technology, officials say the number of auto thefts has declined 61 percent in the past 23 years.

The El Paso Police Department has been using License Plate Readers, to help them locate stolen cars.
Ralph Moreno, officer with the El Paso Police Department, explained the infrared beams on the cameras can pick up on license plates, even at night. It then runs the plate through a system to check if it is a stolen vehicle.

"In an 8 hour shift, it can check about 10,00 plates, and in a small shopping center you can run the whole center in about 10 minutes," Moreno said.
They also say it's been significant in recovering stolen vehicles.

"Back in the 90s, there were like 220 cars stolen in one week, and now we're averaging about 15-19 a week," said Lt. Reggie Moton with EPPD.

Tools like these cameras are funded by the Automobile Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority, an agency that gives grants to law enforcement.

"In 1991, legislators passed a law that for every motor vehicle policy. Every vehicle that was insured there was going to be a $1 fee attached to that. That fee became the funding for this program," said Carlos Garcia, chairman for ABTPA.

Tips for keeping your car safe.
Keep valuables out of sight.
Always lock your vehicle.
Park in well lit areas.
Never leave your car running and unattended.

List of top 10 most stolen vehicles
1. Ford Pickup
2. Chevrolet Pickup
3. Dodge Pickup
4. Chevrolet Tahoe
5. Honda Civic
6. Honda Accord
7. GMC Pickup
8. Chevrolet Impala
9. Toyota Camry
10. Nissan Altima   

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