DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — It is a worsening headache for law enforcement agencies across the country: an increasing number of stolen cars.
According to the Council on Criminal Justice, car thefts across the country are up 33.5% from last year. Lt. Randy Beane said the Dayton Police Department is also seeing staggering numbers, with more than 1,600 cars stolen so far this year. That is double the amount of cars compared to this time last year.
The LexisNexis Community Crime Map shows more than 40 cars were stolen within the last week alone.
“Kias and Hyundais are still being stolen at a higher rate than other vehicles, but we are seeing other types of vehicles being stolen that we traditionally haven’t seen,” Lt. Beane explained.
In response to the rise in this type of crime, DPD started the ‘BAT’ or ‘Beat Auto Theft’ program. It allows the department to access a car’s location data to help track it down more quickly. Those who sign up will get a sticker for their car to hopefully deter someone from stealing it. The program has been around for almost two months now, but DPD is encouraging more people to sign up.
“If someone would become a victim, it helps make the process more expedient for us to get the tracking information and hopefully recover the vehicle sooner,” Lt. Beane said.
While DPD continues to try to curb this theft problem, they are also urging people to do everything they can to stop themselves from becoming a victim. That includes making sure car doors are locked, parking in well-lit areas, and using anti-theft devices, like steering wheel locks.
“All these things are a little bit of a hassle to owners, but it’s a much smaller problem than having your vehicle stolen, not being able to get to work, or wherever you need to go and having your vehicle damaged. So it’s well worth the extra trouble,” Lt. Beane said.
To learn more about the BAT program and how to sign-up, click here.