War Against Auto Theft as Bronx Sees Spike in Car Crimes

Stop the Strippers 

Funding for Program to Combat Auto Theft

NEW YORK- Senator Jeff Klein announced a $100,000 grant to the Bronx District Attorney’s Office to fund the expansion of the Bronx Anti-Auto Theft “Bait Car” Program.  

The announcement took place at an event for 50th Precinct National Night Out Against Crime on West 234th Street, in the Bronx. 

Senator Klein was joined by Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and 50th Precinct Deputy Inspector Terence O'Toole. 

The program, which began in the Bronx in 1995, in an effort to reduce vehicle break-ins, involves plain clothed NYPD officers positioning bait cars in high crime areas in order to catch criminals in the act. 

The $100,000 grant secured by Senator Klein will be applied to the purchase of state of the art anti-auto theft tools and resources, including two “bait vehicles,” a surveillance van, and other technical surveillance equipment that will aid officers in the investigation and prosecution of auto theft.

“Keeping our neighborhoods and streets safe is one of my top priorities. That is why I fought to secure $100,000 for the Bronx District Attorney for their successful Bait Car program, which has been proven to both reduce and prevent auto theft.  

“I am fully committed to ensuring our local law enforcement officers have all the tools and resources they need to crack down on crime,” said Senator Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester).

“Senator Jeff Klein has wholeheartedly supported my Office in prevention and prosecution of crimes that greatly affect our communities. His latest grant to us—for $100,000--is being used to purchase a surveillance van, technical equipment and two “bait” vehicles to help my investigators catch those who steal or break into cars. 

“Bronx residents spend their hard-earned money on vehicles which they need to get to work or transport their families. We will not tolerate these crimes that deprive people of something vital to their livelihood and everyday life,” said Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark.

New York State and the Bronx have made great strides reducing auto theft over the years. Since 1994, the Bronx has seen an almost 91% reduction of motor vehicle theft.  

Yet that decline has tapered off in the last few years.  

Between 2016 and 2017 the Bronx has seen less than a 1% decrease in auto crime rates in the Bronx, making it one of the worst performing boroughs.  

This demonstrates that the Bronx needs additional assistance to help combat motor vehicle theft.

All five boroughs saw the following decrease in motor vehicle theft:

Bronx - 0.8% decrease of motor vehicle thefts.

Manhattan - 0% decrease of motor vehicle thefts.

Brooklyn - 8.1% decrease of motor vehicle thefts.

Queens - 18.2% decrease of motor vehicle thefts.
Staten Island - 5.3% decrease of motor vehicle thefts.

City of New York (all five boroughs) - 10% decrease of motor vehicle thefts

According to the State Division of Criminal Justice Services, in 2017 there were 1,356 motor vehicle thefts or attempted thefts in the Bronx.  

Just last week in the Bronx, there were 33 incidents of grand larceny of a vehicle.  

There are also certain locations in the Bronx that are targeted more than others.  

According to a 2018 study by the SpotAngels app, the parking areas around Van Cortlandt Park are the most susceptible in our community.  

That study found that there were 12.6 break-ins for every 100 spaces, which is the highest rate of break-ins in the Bronx.

Throughout the Bronx, police precincts in all communities are working hard to combat vehicle theft.  

Year to date, there have been 711 thefts in the Bronx alone.  

With auto-theft crime failing to substantially decline, Senator Klein joined the NYPD in their commitment to double down against anti-theft and to make our communities safer, and partnered with the Bronx District Attorney's Office to enhance the “bait car” program.

In 2018, the Bronx District Attorney’s Auto Crime team has recovered 52 vehicles, valued at  approximately $713,000.  Enhancing the bait car program will allow the team to increase both prevention and recovery results.  Bait cars are deployed to undisclosed locations throughout the community that have seen an uptick in crime, to lure criminals and catch them red handed in the act.

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