Auto Theft

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Police arrested three people in Rockford for a string of car thefts in our area. Seventeen-year-old Cortez Holliman and two juvenile males are in custody for allegedly stealing cars from hospital and shopping mall parking lots in our area.

The keen eye and quick actions of an auto theft task force detective put the three alleged car thieves behind bars, but there was some strategy, too. Police compile data revealing hot spots for car thieves

"With these patterns, then I'll send investigators to work that area to see if they can find stolen cars or people trying to steal cars," said Sgt. Mark Fritz of the Northern Illinois Auto Theft Task Force.

While the arrests are significant, auto theft is a persistent problem in the stateline. Last year car thieves drove off with 1,100 cars in Winnebago County. The most popular target for thieves: Chevy trucks, vans and SUVs.

"There are several reasons for a car being stolen. Some are, and it's very few, stolen for parts or to resell them. A lot of the cars are being stolen just as a means of transportation from one location to another," said Fritz.

Fritz says no matter what the strategy; eventually the car thief will get caught.

Sgt. Fritz offers these hints for protecting your vehicle: Lock your doors. Put valuables in the trunk and park in a well lit, highly visible area.

In 2003, the Auto Theft Task Force recovered 751 undamaged cars. Extended Web Coverage

Professional thieves can steal any car, but you should make them work for yours.

  • To prevent thefts, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recommends "Layered Protection." The more layers of protection on your vehicle, the more difficult it is to steal.

  • The "common sense" approach to protection is the simplest and most cost-effective way to stop would-be thieves. You should always secure your vehicle; remove keys from the ignition, lock all doors, close all windows, and park in a well-lit area.

  • The next step is a warning device. This layer of protection alerts thieves that your vehicle is protected and the list includes; audible alarms, steering wheel locks, brake locks, theft deterrent decals, and identification markers in or on the vehicle.

  • The third layer of protection is one that prevents thieves from bypassing the ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Popular third layer devices include; smart keys, high security locks and keys, fuse cut-offs, and starter disablers.

  • The last layer of protection is a tracking device which emits a signal to a police or monitoring station. One of those systems is the LOJACK tracking devices.

    Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau