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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 162090 Find in a Library
Title: Combatting Vehicle Theft Along the Texas Border
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:65  Issue:1  Dated:(January 1996)  Pages:10-13
Author(s): P A Ethridge; R Gonzalez
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 4
Document: HTML
Type: Program Description (Model)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: To address the dramatic increase in vehicle thefts along the Texas-Mexico border, several law enforcement agencies in southern Texas formed a task force that combined specialized investigative techniques and innovative prosecutive arrangements to reduce the number of vehicle thefts.
Abstract: The South Texas Auto Theft Enforcement Task Force (STATETF) supplements the efforts of local law enforcement agencies by acting in a proactive manner to combat vehicle theft. Because the STATETF covers four counties that encompass several thousand square miles, the task force is divided into two units, east end and west end. This article discusses the activities of the west end unit, based in McAllen, Tex. The west end unit covers three counties and consists of a commanding officer, three team leaders, 15 investigators, and a secretary. Nine local agencies contribute personnel to the west end unit. Three teams comprise the unit, each composed of five investigators and a team leader. Investigators on the first team specialize in surveillance techniques. Using crime analysis data, this team targets locations with a large number of reported automobile thefts. The team also uses crime analysis data to identify the vehicle models most targeted by thieves, as well as the most common time of the thefts. Investigators on the second team inspect automobile junkyards, vehicle repair shops, and used car lots to identify stolen automobiles by checking the vehicle identification numbers of suspected vehicles. They also check for stolen parts. The third team consists of investigators with extensive experience in undercover cases. The team uses confidential informants to develop intelligence information on automobile theft rings. Investigators have worked with the District Attorney's Office to examine various options to enhance the prosecution of auto thieves. When three or more subjects are arrested during the same incident, investigators use the Texas Penal Code statute that raises each offense one degree higher than could be charged otherwise. Evaluation of the program shows that arrests and convictions of auto thieves have increased, and auto thefts in the city of McAllen declined by nearly 45 percent over the period assessed. 7 notes
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Crime specific countermeasures; Motor Vehicle Theft; Texas
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