2015-02-25 / Editorials

Reducing Auto Theft

BY QUEENS DISTRICT ATTORNEY RICHARD A. BROWN

Since becoming district attorney in 1991, my office has been at the forefront of the battle against auto crime. I have devoted significant resources to ferreting out criminal organizations that profit from the illicit trafficking in stolen autos, auto parts and insurance fraud. For years my office has targeted organized auto theft rings and insurance fraudsters with great success. As a result, we have seen car thefts dramatically drop from a high of approximately 52,000 cars being stolen annually in 1991 to just over 2,400 last year. This has been the result of not only the commendable work by the NYPD Auto Crime Division, but my office’s vigorous prosecution of major offenders and the use of the most up-to-date technological investigative tools – including courtauthorized electronic surveillance, as well as the old and reliable methods of conventional investigative techniques. This successful multi-faceted attack against stolen car rings, “chop-shops,” organized theft groups and insurance fraud enterprises and con artists has led to the dramatic downturn in auto crime.

Nevertheless, even with this steady decline in auto thefts an aware and alert citizenry is necessary to assist law enforcement in assuring the trend in auto crime continues to decline. So here are my top six checklist items to help avoid being a victim of auto theft:

1. Lock your car doors at all times.

2. Do not leave personal property in view in your car.

3. Close your windows.

4. Remember to engage your auto theft device upon exiting your vehicle.

5. Never leave your vehicle unoccupied and running.

6. Report any suspicious activity near your vehicle to your local police precinct.

Remember, my office is open 24 hours, seven days a week, staffed with assistant district attorneys on call in every vital area of law enforcement and crime control to assist the police and the public, and guarantee that our mission of safeguarding the public is more than met. Thank you.

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