CHICAGO — The Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Council (MVTPC) today announced its 14th consecutive year of successfully combating car theft in Illinois.
The Council recorded a 3 percent drop in 2005. Seven MVTPC-funded vehicle theft prevention task forces operating in Boone, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kankakee, Madison, Peoria, St. Clair, Will, and Winnebago counties recovered 1,287 stolen vehicles worth more than $12 million. The task forces also were responsible for 1,934 vehicle theft investigations, 724 arrests, and 345 convictions. The 41,705 vehicles reported stolen in 2005 represented 1,281 fewer stolen than in the previous year.
An arm of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA), the Council allocates grant funding to support programs such as special auto theft task forces and investigative teams, prosecutions, statewide audits of salvage yards, public education, officer training, and data analysis. The Council funded 12 programs in 2005.
“This long-term downward trend in motor vehicle thefts is a direct result of the Council’s continued efforts to direct resources to areas in need,” said Lori G. Levin, ICJIA executive director.
Nearly 28,000 vehicles worth more than $171 million have been recovered since the Council’s inception in 1991. Since the creation of the Council, reports of motor vehicle theft in Illinois have dropped 44
percent. Cook County, which accounted for 73 percent of all car thefts in the state in 2005, recorded a 2 percent drop.
"We are committed to assisting law enforcement efforts around the state with innovative strategies and programs to reduce motor vehicle theft," said Larry G. Trent, MVTPC chair and director of the Illinois State Police.
A $332,667 grant supported ISP’s Motor Vehicle Theft Intelligence Clearinghouse, which compiles monthly vehicle theft reports for the Council, provides statewide analyses to motor vehicle theft task forces, issues reports on theft and recovery trends, and tracks geographic data on theft rates. ISP’s Motor Vehicle Theft Investigation Training Program was supported with an $88,049 grant and offers classes for patrol officers and insurance industry officials on characteristics and investigation techniques relating to vehicle theft cases.
The following task forces also received grant funding in 2005 to fight motor vehicle theft:
• DuPage County Auto Theft Task Force received $298,534.
• Kane County Auto Theft Task Force received $425,633.
• Metro East Auto Theft Task Force, serving Madison and St. Clair counties, received $619,176.
• Motor Vehicle Theft Prosecution Unit, serving Cook County, received $589,315.
• Northeast Metro Auto Theft Task Force, serving Cook County, received $746,345.
• Northern Illinois Auto Theft Task Force, serving Winnebago and Boone counties, received $500,933.
• Secretary of State Special Audit Teams received $1,143,000.
• State and Local Auto Theft Enforcement, serving Peoria County, received $318,278.
• Tri-County Auto Theft Task Force, serving Grundy, Kankakee, and Will counties, received $783,124.
With the support of the insurance industry, the General Assembly established the Illinois Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Council in 1991 to combat vehicle theft, insurance fraud, and related crimes. The 15-member Council is made up of law enforcement and insurance industry officials. ICJIA staff carries out the day-to-day work of the Council.
MVTPC responsibilities, as listed in the Illinois Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act, include assessing the scope of motor vehicle theft, particularly in those areas of the state with the highest theft rates, allocating funds made available for the purpose of the act, and developing and implementing strategies to combat motor vehicle theft. The Act also requires that insurance companies licensed to write private passenger comprehensive coverage pay $1 into the fund annually for each vehicle insured in the previous year. Collected and administered by the Council, contributions to the fund totaled $6.3 million in 2005.