The Southeast Texas Auto Theft Task Force was created in March of 1993 through grant funds from the Texas Automobile Theft Prevention Authority.
Each year more than 700,000 vehicles are reported stolen in the United States. These cars had an estimated value of 4.3 billion dollars. Auto theft accounts for 13% of all property crimes. One car was reported stolen every 45 seconds
In 1993 The Wall Street Journal reported that the City of Beaumont, Texas had the largest increase in auto theft from 1991 to 1992 of any city with a population of 100,000 or greater. That increase was 54%. This drastic rise led to the creation of the Southeast Texas Auto Theft Task Force.
The Southeast Texas Auto Theft Task Force is a multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency unit comprised of officers from the Beaumont Police Department, the Port Arthur Police Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and the Hardin County Sheriif's Office. The task force, which is still governed by the Texas Automobile Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority in Austin, is funded by a state grant. The funds for the grant are obtained from a $2.00 per year anti-theft fee that is added to every auto insurance policy written in the state.
The unit covers Jefferson, Hardin, Orange and Jasper counties and is divided into two branches. The first being investigations and with crime prevention being the second.
The investigative branch of the task force targets auto theft at every level. Emphasis is given to theft rings, street gang related auto thefts and repeat offenders. Because many cars are stolen for their parts the unit developed a program to monitor, inspect and inventory local repair shops, salvage yards and used parts dealers.
A major key to solving any problem is awareness. The task force is equipped with a full time crime prevention officer whose sole purpose is to use media campaigns and public presentations to better inform local communities of their auto theft problem in their area and methods of auto theft prevention. The officer is available to give crime prevention presentations to civic groups upon request. To arrange a presentation for your group simply contact the task force at 842-6341.
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