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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    A sticker solution

    In an effort to lower car theft on campus, the University of Arizona Police Department is launching a low-tech solution to catch people who steal cars.

    The program, Watch Your Car, relies on a simple device – a sticker – to tip police off when cars are stolen.

    Watch Your Car was officially launched at UA this week, although the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority (AATA) has been sponsoring the program in Arizona since 1992.

    Participants enroll in the voluntary program, and receive two free car decals, which are placed on the front and rear windows of the car.

    “”There’s always a solution, and in our office, we try to prevent crime using these different solutions.””
    – Sgt. Eugene Mejia, UAPD

    The program runs from 1 a.m. until 5 a.m. daily. If police see a car with the decal on it between these morning hours, they automatically pull it over to verify that the rightful owner is driving it.

    UAPD improved the Watch Your Car program for the UA. When someone registers their car, they also receive a free “”club-style”” steering wheel lock, said UAPD officer Frank Romero.

    Participants can register their cars at UAPD with a Crime Prevention Team member or online with AATA.

    During the month of January 2007, there was one car reported stolen to UAPD, “”which is pretty good,”” Sgt. Eugene Mejia said.

    Mejia said he recommends people parking in and around the UA use steering wheel locks to help better protect their cars.

    “”There’s always a solution, and in our office we try to prevent crime using these different solutions,”” Mejia said.

    Romero said approximately 60 cars are reported stolen each year from the UA and he hopes this program will help lower that number.

    Another aspect of this new program consists of a redemption card for a free steering wheel lock if someone reports their car as stolen, or if an attempt was made to steal the car.

    The only way someone can get a redemption card for a free steering wheel lock, is if a UAPD officer confirms the incident, completes a redemption card and if the incident happens on UA property.

    The program was created because a large amount of auto thefts occur during the early morning hours, when vehicle owners are asleep and unaware of what is happening to their car until it’s too late, according to the AATA Web site.

    “”I do not expect a big student response to this program,”” Romero said.

    Caitlyn Campbell, a family studies and human development senior, said she thinks the program sounds “”silly,”” although some people may like it.

    “”If someone feels like they need that kind of security then it’s great, but I don’t feel like I would need that,”” Campbell said.

    Many other states across the country run the Watch Your Car program, which is sponsored nationally by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service.

    The UAPD also promotes the “”Lock It or Lose It”” program, which offers bike and steering wheel locks at a discounted price for UA students and faculty.

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