While you are protecting yourself from auto theft, Colorado Law Enforcement Task Forces are working vigilantly to lower the number of auto thefts in our state. Thanks to Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA), grant money supports the following initiatives in Colorado:
- Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR)
This technology uses optical character recognition to automatically read license plate information. Mobile ALPR technology uses multiple cameras mounted on a vehicle. As the vehicle moves, it photographs license plates and compares the data to a national or local database that is updated daily. If the system detects a match, the officer receives an alert on his computer. A mobile ALPR can read hundreds of plates a minute and cover at least two lanes of traffic at once.
- Bait Car Program
A bait car is a vehicle owned by the police that is intended to be stolen. Once the car has been stolen, its location, speed and direction are monitored by police dispatchers through GPS tracking. Everything that takes place inside the bait car is caught through audio and video recordings. As the car is in motion, the dispatcher will coordinate a police response. Once officers are in position behind the bait car, the engine is disabled with the click of a button, which allows for quick arrest of the car thieves (source: baitcar.com).
- VIN Etching
A VIN is a vehicle identification number. VIN is to a car what a social security number is to a person. The vehicle’s VIN # is etched into the windshield and windows. VIN etching aids in stolen car recovery efforts.It is also important to check a vehicle’s VIN number before purchasing a car to ensure the car has not been stolen. The following agencies provide a VIN Checking tool:
- CO Auto Theft Check Up
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has developed this theft prevention checkup and it has been adapted for Colorado based on local trends and history. This checkup is a quick, 3-part questionnaire to help you determine how many layers of protection you need for your vehicle(s).
- Puffer Awareness
“Puffer” is the term used to describe exhaust vapors that come out of a tailpipe when a vehicle is running in cold weather. These vapors alert thieves to the fact that your vehicle is unlocked with the keys in the ignition—making it easy prey.
Law enforcement and community partners around the state have teamed up to educate the public about the dangers of leaving your car running unattended.