Puffer Week Coverage

January 27th, 2020

 

Coverage from Puffer Week 2020

Source: Denver 7

Source: CBS

Source: KOAA

Warm up your car the right way: Don’t leave it running unattended

January 23rd, 2020

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Annie Coghill, 303-547-6692
Carole Walker, Coloradans Against Auto Theft Chair, 303-790-0216
Twitter: @StopAutoTheftCO
Facebook: @ColoradansAgainstAutoTheft

Warm up your car the right way: Don’t leave it running unattended
Colorado Puffer Week awareness and enforcement begins January 26

Denver, Colo. (Jan. 23, 2020) — That telltale puff of exhaust from a car idling on a cold morning is a calling card for auto thieves. Cruising neighborhoods, often in pairs, they look for so called “puffer” vehicles parked in front of homes, apartment buildings and convenience stores. One drives the car; another is ready to bail out at the first sign of a car running unattended. It takes only seconds to jump in, drive off and steal that vehicle.

To help drivers protect themselves from auto theft, Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT) and Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI), in collaboration with Colorado law enforcement and community partners, will participate in “Puffer Week.” Starting Sunday, January 26, this annual statewide awareness and enforcement campaign warns Colorado drivers about the risks and dangers of theft from puffing.

The Colorado Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center (ATICC) reports that there were 20,230 vehicles stolen across the state in 2019. Puffer cars contribute to Colorado’s auto theft problem, and they are often involved in subsequent crimes, such as armed robbery, identity theft, home invasion and drug-related offenses. Leaving a car running unattended can result in a domino effect that contributes to the rise in Colorado’s crime rate and puts the community at risk.

While auto theft is a year-round problem, it typically spikes in cold weather months when drivers are more likely to leave their cars idling unattended to warm up. Investigators hear a common narrative when interviewing victims of puffer theft. “‘I just went in to get some coffee.’ ‘I just ran back into the house to get my bag.’ ‘I just left my car for a second.’ That’s all it takes for a thief to make off with your car,” explains Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association and CAAT chair. “Our message is simple: ‘Warm up your car the right way. Don’t leave it running unattended.’”

Initiatives like Puffer Week unite the Colorado law enforcement community in the effort to drive down auto theft through education and awareness of common-sense prevention. “Law enforcement continues to combat auto theft but we cannot do it alone,” says Colonel Matthew Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “You must take steps to help prevent auto theft from occurring by locking your vehicle and never leaving it running unattended. Leaving your car puffing gives thieves an easy opportunity to victimize you and commit other serious crimes with your vehicle.”

Puffer Week Enforcement

Puffing your car – or leaving it running unattended – is illegal in Colorado with one exception: Colorado law does exempt vehicles with a remote-start from being ticketed if found running unattended. However, drivers must keep the keyless start fob far enough away from the car that the vehicle can’t be operated.

During Puffer Week, law enforcement increases warnings and citations to those found puffing their cars, with the first offense costing $60. Last year during Puffer Week, law enforcement around the state engaged with more than 660 citizens to help create awareness about auto theft risks due to puffer. “With the help of our partners, we are working to change the way the community thinks about auto theft,” says “It is not ‘just a property crime,’ and our investigators prove it on a regular basis. Auto theft cases are frequently connected to other criminal acts that put the community in danger. Puffer Week is our opportunity to remind citizens not to take that risk by puffing your car.”

Puffer Week Highlights

Puffer Week Enforcement
Leaving a car running unattended can be costly. Stepped-up enforcement means an increase in warnings and citations for drivers leaving their cars running unattended, with fines of $60.

Community Education Efforts
Community outreach is an important aspect of Puffer Week awareness. Law enforcement and CAAT partners will proactively contact members of the community to encourage common sense auto theft prevention, and use social media to connect with their fans and followers. A few examples:

  • Aurora Police Department: Aurora PD CATPA Metropolitan Auto Theft Team (CMATT) task force members actively use social media platforms as one tool to assist in auto theft investigations, and continuously work to educate the community on auto theft prevention so that together we can make a #SaferAurora. They encourage everyone: ‘If you see something, say something, and always make a police report when you have become a victim of crime.’
  • Colorado Springs Police Department: To highlight the important work happening around car theft in the Colorado Springs area, the department will feature a profile of its auto theft task force on Facebook during Puffer Week.
  • Lakewood Police Department: Lakewood PD’s Facebook fans and followers appreciate a little humor mixed in with the department’s crime prevention tips. During Puffer Week, they’ll unveil a new tongue-in-cheek video series about the domino effect of puffer auto theft.

 

Public Awareness Efforts

  • “Warm Up Your Car The Right Way.” CAAT’s social media campaign incorporates satirical devices to help drivers keep their cars warm instead of leaving them running unattended.
  • “Don’t Leave Your Car to Warm Up Alone.” In partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation, variable message signs across the state will carry warnings for drivers about the dangers of puffing.

10 Tips for Preventing Auto Theft

  • Never leave your car running unattended.
  • In cold weather, warm up with your car: grab a hot cup of coffee, gloves and a blanket. It shouldn’t take long – most cars warm up in a matter of minutes.
  • Park in an enclosed garage whenever possible.
  • Use a remote start if you have one, making sure the doors are locked and the keyless start fob is far enough away that the vehicle can’t be moved.
  • Lock your doors every single time.
  • Always park in well-lit areas.
  • Invest in anti-theft technology (i.e., alarm system, Club…).
  • Use our Hot Spot Map to see if there have been auto thefts where you live or work.
  • Follow the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) “Layered Approach” to protection.
  • See the top stolen vehicles and top five cities for auto theft in Colorado here.

For one-stop shopping on auto theft prevention information for Colorado, visit the newly redesigned www.lockdownyourcar.org and check out the latest news on the “Lockdown Your Car” Facebook and Twitter pages.

Both CATI and CAAT are funded by the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA), a statutory grant program that supports law enforcement, prevention and training programs through the collection of $1.00 for every insured vehicle.

About Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT)

CAAT is a statewide auto theft prevention initiative to raise awareness about the problem and educate the public on what they can do to reduce their chances of falling victim to auto theft. CAAT and the state auto theft task force efforts are funded in part by the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA).

About Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI)

CATI is a non-profit association of public, law enforcement and insurance industry investigators concerned with the prevention and investigation of motor vehicle thefts and kindred crimes; to promote the exchange of investigative information; and to create a forum for better communication among investigators in Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Region, and the Nation.

About Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA)

CATPA is a state authority that was established by Colorado statute in 2003 to help reduce Colorado’s serious auto theft problem through the award of grant funds. The Colorado law helps ensure that auto theft prevention efforts are targeted. These efforts have resulted in an increase in stolen vehicle recoveries and criminal prosecutions of major organized criminal groups, as well as related crimes.

CAAT Coalition Partners

Colorado auto theft task forces, made up of regional law enforcement agencies, Colorado State Patrol and other motor vehicle safety and insurance partners, are a part of the CAAT coalition to decrease auto theft during this peak auto theft season.

  • CATPA Metropolitan Auto Theft Team (C-MATT)
  • Beat Auto Theft Through Law Enforcement (BATTLE)
  • Colorado Attorney General’s Auto Theft Prosecution Initiative
  • Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI)
  • Colorado Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center (ATICC)

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Media Information

  • See instances of auto theft in Colorado by zip code here.
  • Visit “Lockdown Your Car” Facebook and Twitter pages.
  • Puffer theft video and B-roll of puffing cars are available upon request. Please contact Annie Coghill on behalf ofColoradans Against Auto Theft at 303-547-6692 or annie@ameliecompany.com
  • Ride-along opportunities with law enforcement may be available during Puffer Week. To request a ride-along,please contact your local law enforcement or Colorado State Patrol PIOs, or Annie Coghill on behalf of Coloradans Against Auto Theft at 303-547-6692 or annie@ameliecompany.com

Brighton: The City of Brighton has issued the following new release

July 9th, 2019

 

The Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA) has just released its list of the top ten stolen vehicles in our state. In an effort to prevent more auto thefts in our area, the Brighton Police Department received steering wheel immobilizers, more commonly known as “clubs,” from the Colorado Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force (C-MATT).

Source: News Edge

Read the article here.

July: National Auto Theft Prevention Month; Auto Theft Rises in Colorado for 6th Consecutive Year

July 9th, 2019

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Annie Coghill, 303-547-6692
Carole Walker, Coloradans Against Auto Theft Chair, 303-790-0216
Twitter: @StopAutoTheftCO
Facebook: @ColoradansAgainstAutoTheft

Coloradans Against Auto Theft, Law Enforcement & Community Partners Promote Common Sense Tips to Help Prevent Auto Theft

Denver, Colo. (July 9, 2019) — Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT), along with law enforcement and community partners, today launched their annual statewide summer awareness campaign to remind Coloradans about the importance of auto theft prevention. The “Lockdown Your Car” campaign coincides with National Auto Theft Prevention Month to educate drivers about common sense steps to deter auto theft in Colorado.
According to the Colorado Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center (ATICC), since 2012 the state’s auto theft problem has continued to escalate. In 2018, auto theft increased 9.4 percent over 2017, and was up 18 percent over 2016. In total, 21,324 vehicles were stolen in Colorado last year; an average of 410 stolen vehicles per week; 58 stolen vehicles per day. View the 2018 ATICC annual report here.
While auto theft is a year-round problem in Colorado, there are seasonal behaviors that can open drivers up to dangerous consequences. “Auto theft is a crime of opportunity; thieves are always on the lookout for the easy steals,” says Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association and CAAT chair. “Thieves know that when the weather heats up, drivers are more likely to leave cars open or windows down when parked outside, or even leave cars running unattended with the air conditioning going. National Auto Theft Prevention Month is the perfect time to remind Colorado drivers to ‘Lockdown Your Car.’”

What Contributes to the Rise in Auto Theft in Colorado?

A number of factors contribute to the increase in auto theft including the state’s population growth. On average, Colorado has observed a population growth of over 79,500 people per year for the past five years. Per capita, Colorado experienced a 7.4 percent increase in auto theft last year.

Auto theft fuels crime sprees and contributes to the overall rise in Colorado’s crime rate. “A domino effect can occur when a car is left unlocked or running unattended,” says Colonel Matthew Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “A vast majority of car thieves in Colorado commit additional crimes such as armed robbery, home invasion, identify theft and drug-related offenses. The Colorado State Patrol is dedicated to safety on our roads and in our communities, and that includes empowering drivers to take necessary precautions to secure their vehicles from theft.”


Why is Auto Theft Prevention Education Important?

Nearly half of all auto theft is due to driver error, leaving keys in the car or leaving a car running unattended (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration). A statewide Colorado poll conducted by Drake Research & Strategy (January 2019) on behalf of CAAT revealed that while people may understand the seriousness of auto theft in Colorado, they still tend to leave themselves open to risk.

“Common sense prevention goes a long way in helping to deter a thief from stealing your car, potentially committing other crimes in the process, and causing harm in the community,” adds Detective Jennifer King-Sullivan, president of Colorado Auto Theft Investigators. “We’re working to help create safer communities by improving awareness of risky behaviors that often have dangerous consequences.”

Auto Theft Prevention Tips:

• Lock your doors every single time – it’s the number one thing you can do to protect property

• Remember to roll up windows all the way

• Never leave your car running unattended

• Take your keys with you – don’t keep a spare set of keys in your vehicle

• Always park in well-lit areas

• Put gifts and all valuables in the trunk hidden from view

• Buy comprehensive insurance that covers stolen vehicles

• Report suspicious activities to a non-emergency police line


CAAT’s Summer “Lockdown Your Car” Campaign Highlights

Public Awareness: CAAT’s public awareness campaign, supported by grant funding through the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority, includes traditional advertising with TV spots, social media and community events to remind drivers not to make themselves an easy target for car thieves. See the TV spot here.

Social Media: The Summer “Lockdown Your Car” social media campaign reveals what thieves see within everyday settings: opportunity. The design co-opts signs from fictional businesses and landmarks to show how easily thieves exploit unsuspecting drivers who effectively broadcast the vulnerable security of their vehicles. Follow the campaign on CAAT’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Community Events: To engage with Coloradans on important community safety issues, CAAT’s coalition partners will be taking part in events around the state including National Night Out (NNO) on August 6. This annual event is a community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and creates connections that help make neighborhoods safer. Commander Mike Greenwell, Lakewood Police Department and CATPA Metropolitan Auto Theft Team (CMATT) explains, “It’s a great way to connect, to answer questions and try to help people with any problems they may have. We want to show people how to help continue to make our community a safe, comfortable place to be.”

Snapshot of activities:

On July 25, Commerce City will host its 2nd Annual Police & Fire Open House at the Commerce City Civic Center. Residents can enjoy free food and entertainment, explore police and fire equipment and vehicles, tour the stations, meet the officers and sign up to host a NNO block party. Event hours are 4:00-8:00 p.m.

Members of the Lakewood Police Department will be out in full force on August 6, stopping by NNO gatherings taking place within the community. About 50 neighborhoods in Lakewood will have block parties for residents to get to know each other better and to connect with law enforcement on important community safety topics, including auto theft prevention awareness.

The Pueblo Police Department will host its annual “Neighborhood Safety Night” at the Riverwalk in Pueblo. The August 6 event runs from 4:00-8:00 p.m. with a focus on safety, community resources and crime prevention. Residents can try to “dunk” the Chief and command staff and enjoy music, backyard style games, BBQ, snow cones, Riverwalk boat rides, first responder vehicle display, giveaways and numerous community resource booths.

Visit NNO’s website or Facebook page for general NNO information.


Highlights from ATICC 2018 Report

Top Ten Stolen Vehicles in 2018:

1. Honda Civic

2. Honda Accord

3. Ford F-250

4. Chevrolet Silverado

5. Ford F-150

6. Dodge RAM

7. Ford F-350

8. Subaru Legacy

9. GMC Sierra

10. Jeep Grand Cherokee


Top Five Colorado Cities for Auto Theft in 2018:

1. Denver

2. Colorado Springs

3. Aurora

4. Pueblo

5. Lakewood

CAAT, CATI and CMATT are funded by the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA), a statutory grant program that supports law enforcement, prevention and training programs through the collection of $1.00 for every insured vehicle. For more information about auto theft in Colorado, visit www.lockdownyourcar.org and the “Lockdown Your Car” Facebook and Twitter pages.


CAAT Coalition Partners

Colorado auto theft task forces, made up of regional law enforcement agencies, Colorado State Patrol and other motor vehicle safety and insurance partners, are a part of CAAT’s coalition to decrease auto theft during this peak season.

• CATPA Metropolitan Auto Theft Team (CMATT)

• Beat Auto Theft Through Law Enforcement (BATTLE)

• Colorado Attorney General’s Auto Theft Prosecution Initiative

• Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI)

• Colorado Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center (ATICC)


About Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT):

CAAT is a statewide auto theft prevention initiative to raise awareness about the problem and educate the public on what they can do to reduce their chances of falling victim to auto theft. CAAT is part of a coalition of law enforcement agencies, including the Colorado State Patrol, the Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI), insurance partners, LoJack and AAA Colorado. In 2018, Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT) was honored with the Leadership in the Prevention of Vehicle Crimes Award for successful efforts in combatting auto theft through public awareness and prevention education by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). CAAT and the state auto theft task force efforts are funded in part by the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA).


About Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA):

CATPA is a state authority that was established by Colorado statute in 2003 to help reduce Colorado’s serious auto theft problem through the award of grant funds. The Colorado law helps ensure that auto theft prevention efforts are targeted. These efforts have resulted in an increase in stolen vehicle recoveries and criminal prosecutions of major organized criminal groups, as well as related crimes.

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Auto theft footage provided by local law enforcement can be accessed at the below links:

  1. Aurora Auto Theft: Surveillance video captures two vehicles approaching a car parked on the street. One person gets out, enters the vehicle, is able to start the car and drive away while the other cars wait.
  2. Aurora Auto Theft – April: Home surveillance captures someone walking down a residential street, entering a vehicle, then driving away.
  3. Pueblo Door Handle Checking: Home surveillance camera captures someone checking door handles of a car parked on a residential street.

Coloradans Against Auto Theft, Law Enforcement & Community Partners Join Forces for Summer Auto Theft Prevention Campaign

July 10th, 2018

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
Annie Coghill, 303-547-6692
Carole Walker, Coloradans Against Auto Theft Chair, 303-790-0216
Twitter: @StopAutoTheftCO
Facebook: @ColoradansAgainstAutoTheft

Coloradans Against Auto Theft, Law Enforcement & Community Partners Join Forces for Summer Auto Theft Prevention Campaign Statewide Campaign Reminds Coloradans of Heightened Crime Associated with Auto Theft

Denver, Colo. (July 10, 2018) — Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT), along with law enforcement and community partners, today launched their annual statewide public awareness campaign aimed at educating Coloradans about the domino effect that can occur when a car is left unlocked. The “Lockdown Your Car” campaign, which coincides with National Auto Theft Prevention Month, pairs traditional advertising with community events to remind drivers not to make themselves an easy target for car thieves.
“Auto theft is not just a property crime, in fact 97 percent of adults charged with auto theft also commit additional crimes, making it a threat to the whole community,” says Colonel Matthew Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “It’s imperative that we educate our communities about the risks associated with leaving their cars unlocked. We are pleased to once again join CAAT and law enforcement agencies across the state for this summer’s Lockdown campaign, and continued auto theft prevention efforts throughout the year.”
The Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center (ATICC) reports that 19,488 vehicles were stolen in Colorado in 2017 – the equivalent of 375 stolen vehicles per week, or 53 per day. Auto theft rates in 2017 were up eight percent over 2016, and 31 percent over 2015 when 14,859 vehicles were stolen. ATICC’s 2017 annual report indicates that Friday and Monday showed the highest volume of auto theft, while Sunday showed the lowest. What’s more, data indicates that there were 1,240 auto thefts in the month of July 2017, up 47% from the month of July in 2014. View the ATTIC 2017 annual report here.

Top 10 Stolen Vehicles in Colorado in 2017 (ATICC):

  1. Honda Civic
  2. Honda Accord
  3. Subaru Impreza
  4. Ford F-250
  5. Chevrolet Silverado
  6. Jeep Cherokee
  7. Ford F-350
  8. Ford F-150
  9. Dodge Ram Pickup
  10. Subaru Legacy

Top Five Colorado Cities for Auto Theft in 2017 (ATICC):

  1. Denver
  2. Colorado Springs
  3. Aurora
  4. Pueblo
  5. Lakewood

 
Campaign Highlights
 .   
The “Lockdown Your Car” campaign, supported by grant funding through the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA), features TV spots, billboards, bus, print, digital radio and digital video advertisements and social media posts that remind viewers of the heightened crime associated with auto theft. The ads offer various examples of how car theft can lead to additional crimes in the community, and ask, “If you knew where auto theft ended, would you start locking your car?” View the “Lockdown Your Car” TV spot here.


What’s more, the campaign features “Thiever,” a fake mobile app for car thieves to scope out their next steal. Modeled after popular dating apps, Thiever is comprised of profiles of the top stolen cars in Colorado, encouraging thieves to “swipe right,” or steal the car. The profiles range from static images to animations that show a gloved thief swiping through the posts. They include messages that imitate dating profiles and describe easy-to-steal cars, such as, “Sun’s out and my windows are down. What more could you want?” Each profile will be shared on CAAT’s Facebook and Twitter pages with an accompanying auto theft fact.
“With no seasonality to auto theft, this summer’s Lockdown campaign is part of our year-round effort to spread awareness about what car owners can do to prevent their own cars from being stolen and used to commit other crimes,” says Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association and CAAT chair. “In addition to traditional advertising, a big focus of this year’s campaign is to participate in more community events to engage with and educate Coloradans on a more personal level.”
 
National Night Out
National Night Out (NNO) is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. On the evening of Tuesday, August 7, CAAT’s coalition partners will be hosting local NNO events across Colorado, featuring safety and crime prevention information. Citizens are encouraged to attend events in their neighborhoods, while leaving their porch lights on as a national symbol against crime.
 
Snapshot of National Night Out Activities:
Broomfield Police Department
The Broomfield Police Department will discuss auto theft prevention and awareness during the City of Broomfield’s National Night event from 5-8:30 PM on Tuesday, August 7 at the Broomfield County Commons Park, located at 132 Sheridan Boulevard. Annually, the event attracts more than 2,000 attendees and is one of the largest National Night Out events hosted by a City and County in the Denver metro area.

City of Wheat Ridge
The City of Wheat Ridge will host their annual National Night Out event on the evening of Tuesday, August 7 at Hayward Park, located at West 29th Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard. The event will feature fun for kids and families, including vehicle tours, a meet and greet with officers, and crime prevention and safety information. They will also share auto theft prevention tips on Facebook, Twitter and NextDoor over the course of the month.

Grand Junction Police Department
The Grand Junction Police Department will be attending neighborhoods registered for National Night Out events. Officers will speak to safety and crime-related issues in the community, as well as offer tips on prevention.

Visit NNO’s website or Facebook page for general NNO information.

Colorado State Fair
To demonstrate how auto theft is a tool to commit additional crimes, CAAT will bring their “Kilo Car” to the Colorado State Fair August 24-September 3. The Kilo Car is a full-sized vehicle frame constructed of materials that look to be different types of drugs, representing the shocking truth that auto theft is a gateway crime and a safety concern for the whole community. More details about the Kilo Car’s exhibit at the Colorado State Fair will be announced in August.
 
Auto Theft Prevention Tips

  • Never leave your car running unattended
  • Lock your doors every single time
  • Always park in well-lit areas
  • Don’t keep a spare set of keys in the car
  • Put gifts and all valuables in the trunk hidden from view
  • Buy comprehensive insurance that covers stolen vehicles
  • Report suspicious activities to a non-emergency police line

CAAT Coalition Partners
Colorado auto theft task forces, made up of regional law enforcement agencies, Colorado State Patrol and other motor vehicle safety and insurance partners, are a part of CAAT’s coalition to decrease auto theft during this peak season.

  • CATPA Metropolitan Auto Theft Team (CMATT)
  • Beat Auto Theft Through Law Enforcement (BATTLE)
  • Colorado Attorney General’s Auto Theft Prosecution Initiative
  • Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI)
  • Colorado Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center (ATICC)

About Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT):
CAAT is a statewide auto theft prevention initiative to raise awareness about the problem and educate the public on what they can do to reduce their chances of falling victim to auto theft. CAAT is part of a coalition of law enforcement agencies, the Colorado State Patrol, the Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI), insurance partners, LoJack and AAA Colorado. CAAT and the state auto theft task force efforts are funded in part by the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA).
 
About Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA):
CATPA is a state authority that was established by Colorado statute in 2003 to help reduce Colorado’s serious auto theft problem through the award of grant funds. The Colorado law helps ensure that auto theft prevention efforts are targeted. These efforts have resulted in an increase in stolen vehicle recoveries and criminal prosecutions of major organized criminal groups, as well as related crimes.

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Law Enforcement & Community Partners Join Forces for Colorado Puffer Week

January 22nd, 2018


 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Krista Silano, 303-832-2700 ext. 211
Carole Walker, Coloradans Against Auto Theft Chair, 303-790-0216
Twitter: @StopAutoTheftCO
Facebook: @ColoradansAgainstAutoTheft
 

Law Enforcement & Community Partners Join Forces for Colorado Puffer Week
Statewide “Puffer Week” Campaign Reminds Coloradans that Cars Left Running Unattended are an Easy Steal

Denver, Colo. (Jan. 22, 2017) — Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT), along with Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI), today launched their annual statewide educational and enforcement campaign, known as “Puffer Week.” The campaign runs today through Sunday, January 28 and informs the public about the illegality, risks and consequences of “puffer cars” – or cars left running unattended. Puffer cars contribute to Colorado’s growing auto theft problem, and they are often involved in subsequent crimes, such as armed robbery, home invasion and drug-related offenses.
“Puffer Week aims to remind drivers that the consequences of puffing their car can go beyond getting in trouble with the law or having their car stolen,” says Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association and CAAT chair. “Ninety-seven percent of car thieves charged with auto theft are also charged with additional crimes. The campaign drives home the point that the simple act of leaving your car running unattended can result in a domino effect that contributes to the rise in Colorado’s crime rate and puts the community at risk.”
The Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center (ATICC) reports that 18,047 vehicles were stolen in Colorado in 2016, up more than 20 percent from 2015. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 40 to 50 percent of vehicle theft is due to driver error, which includes leaving vehicle doors unlocked and leaving keys in the ignition or on the seats. While auto thefts can happen anywhere and at any time, they spike in the winter when people are more likely to puff their car to warm it up, and thieves look for the tell-tale puff of the exhaust on a cold day.
Puffing your car – or leaving it running unattended – is illegal in Colorado*. During Puffer Week, law enforcement increases warnings and citations to those caught puffing their cars, with the first offense costing guilty parties a $60 fine. This week, law enforcement and CAAT partners will put a focus on educating communities throughout Colorado on how to prevent auto theft by distributing informational flyers and Lockdownyourcar.org branded ice scrapers, as well as leveraging social media to share important messages and tips. More, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) will display auto theft and puffer car awareness messages on Variable Message Signs (VMS) placed in urban areas throughout the state.
“Last year during Puffer Week, law enforcement gave out over 350 warnings and citations to Colorado drivers caught leaving their cars running unattended, but we know that many offenders got away with it,” says Bill Johnson, President of the Colorado Auto Theft Investigators. “Our hope is that this year’s public awareness campaign will encourage car owners to do their part in taking the necessary steps to prevent their own cars from being stolen and used to commit other crimes.”
Puffer Week Highlights
    
To demonstrate why puffer cars are attractive to car thieves, CAAT created “Thiever,” a fake mobile app for car thieves to scope out their next steal. Modeled after popular dating apps, Thiever is comprised of profiles of the top stolen cars in Colorado, encouraging thieves to “swipe right,” or steal the car. The profiles range from static images to animations that show a gloved thief swiping through the posts. They include messages that imitate dating profiles and describe a puffer car, such as “if it’s cold, I’m puffing. So you can come-a-knockin’,” and “your mother will love me. Especially if she’s a car thief.” Each profile will be shared on CAAT’s Facebook and Twitter pages this week with an accompanying fact about auto theft.
Media ride-alongs available upon request.
For Puffer Week ride-along opportunities, please contact your local law enforcement or Colorado State Patrol PIOs, or Krista Silano on behalf of Coloradans Against Auto Theft at 303-832-2700 ext. 211 or krista@ameliecompany.com.
Winter Public Awareness Campaign
 .   
CAAT’s winter public awareness campaign, which runs through March, features high-profile TV spots; billboards; bus, print, digital radio and digital video advertisements and social media posts that portray how car theft can lead to additional crimes. The ads ask viewers, “If you knew where auto theft ended, would you start locking your car?” View the “Lockdown Your Car” TV spot here.
How Can You Avoid Auto Theft?

  • Never leave your car running unattended.
  • Lock your doors every single time.
  • Always park in well-lit areas.
  • Don’t keep a spare set of keys in the car.
  • Put gifts and all valuables in the trunk or keep hidden from view.
  • Buy comprehensive insurance that covers stolen vehicles.
  • Report suspicious activity to a non-emergency police line.
  • Use our Hot Spot map to see if there have been auto thefts where you live or work.
  • Follow the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) “Layered Approach” to Protection.
  • Find out what the top stolen vehicles in your region are here.

Both CATI and CAAT are funded by the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA), a statutory grant program that supports law enforcement, prevention and training programs through the collection of $1.00 for every insured vehicle.
For more information about auto theft in Colorado, visit www.lockdownyourcar.org and the “Lockdown Your Car” Facebook and Twitter pages.
*A Colorado law that went into effect in August 2016 exempts vehicles with a remote-start from being ticketed if found running unattended. However, drivers must keep the keyless start fob far enough away from the car that the vehicle can’t be moved.
CAAT Coalition Partners
Colorado auto theft task forces, made up of regional law enforcement agencies, Colorado State Patrol and other motor vehicle safety and insurance partners, are a part of the CAAT coalition to decrease auto theft during this peak auto theft season.

  • CATPA Metropolitan Auto Theft Team (CMATT)
  • Beat Auto Theft Through Law Enforcement (BATTLE)
  • Colorado Attorney General’s Auto Theft Prosecution Initiative
  • Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI)
  • Colorado Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center (ATICC)

About Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT):
CAAT is a statewide auto theft prevention initiative to raise awareness about the problem and educate the public on what they can do to reduce their chances of falling victim to auto theft. CAAT is a coalition of law enforcement agencies, the Colorado State Patrol, the Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI), insurance partners, LoJack and AAA Colorado. CAAT and the state auto theft task force efforts are funded in part by the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA).
About Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI):
CATI is a non-profit association of public, law enforcement and insurance industry investigators concerned with the prevention and investigation of motor vehicle thefts and kindred crimes; to promote the exchange of investigative information; and to create a forum for better communication among investigators in Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Region, and the Nation.
About Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA):
CATPA is a state authority that was established by Colorado statute in 2003 to help reduce Colorado’s serious auto theft problem through the award of grant funds. The Colorado law helps ensure that auto theft prevention efforts are targeted. These efforts have resulted in an increase in stolen vehicle recoveries and criminal prosecutions of major organized criminal groups, as well as related crimes.
 

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2016 Puffer Week Combines Education and Enforcement to Combat Auto Theft

January 22nd, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Holly Franklin, 303-832-2700 ext. 221
Carole Walker, Coloradans Against Auto Theft Chair, 303-790-0216
Twitter: @StopAutoTheftCO
Facebook: ColoradansAgainstAutoTheft

2016 Puffer Week Combines Education and Enforcement to Combat Auto Theft
New Auto Theft Poll: Majority of Coloradans agree leaving cars running unattended is a top way cars get stolen, but 34% admit to leaving their car puffing even though it’s dangerous and illegal.

Denver, Colo. (Jan. 24, 2016) — Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT), in partnership with Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI), unite for 2016’s “Puffer Week,” held Jan. 24-30. The statewide educational and enforcement week aims to inform the public about the risks, dangers and most recently, heightened crime associated with auto theft, specifically “puffer cars” – vehicles left running unattended with the telltale puff of the exhaust. Auto theft is often the first step in committing other, more serious crimes. Recent headlines tell a harrowing tale for Colorado:

  •       “Gunshots fired after puffer car confrontation” (Denver Post)
  •      “Denver ‘puffer’ has both cars stolen in a single day after leaving them unattended” (7 News)
  •       “Car theft suspect recaptured after fighting his way out of Colorado Springs police vehicle” (Colorado Springs Gazette)

“Leaving your car running unattended is not only dangerous, it’s illegal,” says Colonel Scott Hernandez, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “That’s why law enforcement and our community safety partners are joining forces this week to send an important message to Colorado drivers. Once a puffer car is stolen, the thief rarely stops there. We’ve seen both a rise in auto theft and the serious, violent crimes associated with it.”

Results from a new statewide CAAT poll being released in conjunction with Colorado’s Puffer Week show a growing percentage of Coloradans are getting the message and say they “NEVER” leave their cars puffing—66% compared to 60% in 2011 and 65% in 2014. However, 34% of Colorado drivers admit they have left their car running unattended. As to whether Coloradans are aware that it is illegal (C.R.S. 42-4-1206), 28% said they didn’t know and another 8% responded that it is not illegal to leave your car puffing. (Source: Talmey-Drake Research & Strategy, Inc.) Seventy percent of respondents consider auto theft a problem or a major problem. Full survey results here.

“Most drivers still have an ‘It will never happen to me mentality’, despite survey results that show 48% of Coloradans know someone who has had their car stolen,” says Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association and CAAT chair. “It’s this disconnect, and the escalation in the severity of auto theft-related crimes that drive our education efforts.”

During Puffer Week law enforcement increases warnings and citations to those caught leaving their cars running unattended. Educational efforts include community distribution of CAAT informational flyers and LockdownYourCar.org ice scrapers, along with partners leveraging social media using #puffercars and driving citizens to the Lockdown website, where they can access auto theft prevention materials and tips (see list of planned activities below). www.LockDownYourCar.org features a hot spot map with a geo-locator tool, allowing users to search auto theft in their area – incentivizing the public to be auto theft aware.

“To successfully combat auto theft, we need the public to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement,” says Detective Greg Malsam, of the Longmont Police Department and President of CATI. “The long-standing partnership between Colorado Auto Theft Investigators and CAAT drives this collaboration, combining strategic law enforcement efforts with community-driven awareness by mobilizing the public to do their part in auto theft prevention.”

Both CATI and CAAT are funded by the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA) a statutory grant program that supports law enforcement, prevention and training programs through the collection of $1.00 for every insured vehicle.

Snapshot of “Puffer Week” Activities:
CATPA Metropolitan Auto Theft Team (CMATT)
Educational materials will be available to citizens. CMATT will also be conducting puffer enforcement, by means of warnings and citing violations, throughout the area.
Englewood Police Department
The Englewood Police Department will be conducting an educational activity every day of Puffer Week at various locations, including coffee shops, grocery stores and other public sites. The Englewood Police Department will also be conducting puffer enforcement throughout the area.
Aurora Police Department
The Aurora Police Department will be conducting an educational and enforcement operation on Tuesday, January 26. Aurora Police Department will also be running a social media campaign, including a “Tweet along” to encourage engagement during the week.
Beat Auto Theft Through Law Enforcement (BATTLE)
Educational materials will be available to citizens. BATTLE patrol officers will be on the lookout for puffer cars and will speak to individuals about the consequences of leaving their car running unattended.
Pueblo Police Department
Educational materials will be available to citizens. Volunteers will be on the lookout for puffer cars and will speak to individuals about the consequences of leaving their car running unattended.
Jefferson County Police Department
Educational materials will be available to citizens. Jefferson County Police Department will also be running a social campaign to remind the public to never leave their cars running unattended.
Lakewood Police Department
Educational materials will be available to citizens. Volunteers will be on the lookout for puffer cars and will speak to individuals about the consequences of leaving their car running unattended.
What can the public do?

  • Never leave your car running unattended.
  • Always lock your car.
  • Never leave any keys in the car, even a spare set.
  • Never leave valuables in plain sight.
  • Always park in well-lit, high-traffic areas.
  • Get windows, doors and fenders etched with the VIN.
  • Consider installing a tracking and recovery device.
  • Check out www.lockdownyourcar.org for more prevention tips, local statistics and a Hot Spot map with geo-locator tool allowing users to search auto theft in their area.

Media ride-alongs available upon request.
For ride-along opportunities, please contact your local law enforcement or Colorado State Patrol PIOs or Holly Franklin on behalf of Coloradans Against Auto Theft at 303-832-2700 ext. 221.
CAAT’s winter public awareness campaign features high-profile TV spots, digital radio, pre-roll, social media and earned media to drive home that message that it is never a good time to have your car stolen – whether it’s before the big dog show or your first prom.
CAAT Coalition Partners
Colorado auto theft task forces, made up of regional law enforcement agencies, Colorado State Patrol and other motor vehicle safety and insurance partners, are a part of the CAAT coalition to decrease auto theft during this peak auto theft season.

  • CATPA Metropolitan Auto Theft Team (CMATT)
  • Beat Auto Theft Through Law Enforcement (BATTLE)
  • Colorado Attorney General’s Auto Theft Prosecution Initiative
  • Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI)
  • Colorado Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center (ATICC)

About Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT):
Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT) is a statewide auto theft prevention initiative to raise awareness about the problem and educate the public on what they can do to reduce their chances of falling victim to auto theft. CAAT is a coalition of law enforcement agencies, the Colorado State Patrol, insurance partners, LoJack and AAA Colorado. CAAT and the state auto theft task force efforts are funded in part by the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA).

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