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HPD Announces Results of Auto Theft Initiatives

January 31, 2006 -- As part of its continuous effort to reduce the level of criminal activity and the fear of becoming a victim of crime, the Houston Police Department reported today that the number of auto thefts was reduced by 5.3% during 2005 as
compared with 2004.

"Although this crime continues to occur all too frequently in Houston, the number of reports received in 2005 was reduced by more than 1,100 when compared with 2004," said Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt.

The department's Auto Theft Division routinely conducts proactive and reactive investigations, as well as public awareness campaigns to attempt to reduce the number of vehicles stolen in Houston. Some of these initiatives include:

* Long term undercover operations designed to identify, infiltrate, and dismantle organized rings

* Sting operations targeting automotive related businesses that buy and sell stolen vehicles and vehicle parts

* Public education campaigns and prevention initiatives such as the HEAT (Help End Auto Theft) program

* Investigations alongside federal agents targeting the exportation of stolen vehicles to other countries

* Deployment of "bait" vehicles equipped with GPS technology in locations where large numbers of vehicles are reported stolen

* Targeting of rings involving thefts of semi-tractor trucks.

"Auto Theft investigators are committed to continuing the multi-faceted approach to investigating and preventing this type of crime," Chief Hurtt said. "We also would like to encourage citizens to use any type of deterrent device on their vehicles such as cutoff switches, alarms, ignition collars, or clubs that make their cars more difficult to steal," added Chief Hurtt.

Keeping vehicles from being stolen also reduces the possibility they will be used to commit other crimes and reduces insurance costs for everyone.

RMM/JC 1-31-06

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.