March 4, 2013 — A new “Chief’s Message” video posted online today focuses on the Salt Lake City Police Department’s new and improved Auto Theft Unit, the number of auto thefts in the city, and ways the public can secure their vehicles.
“It [auto theft] is a huge problem here in Salt Lake,” according to Sgt. Stefhan Bennett, who talked about the situation with Chief Chris Burbank. “Last year, we had roughly 3,000 vehicles [reported] stolen; we recovered approximately 2,400 of those.”
Of the vehicles not recovered, Bennett said he is confident many end up south of the border or stripped for parts. “They [car thieves] can double or triple the value of a stolen car just by selling the parts off. So they’re ending up in chop shops,” he explained, adding that “other vehicles are being loaded up on transports [and] taken out of state, or even out of the country, for resale.”
Bennett and the four detectives under his command are taking a two-pronged approach of enforcement action and public education to deal with auto theft, including:
Burbank and Bennett walked through some easy steps the public can take right away to help. For example, the public should report suspicious behavior, including strangers looking into vehicles or the presence of unknown cars repeatedly driving down the street; and car owners may want to consider using steering locks, a visible auto theft deterrent.
And, of course, don’t be a job creator for car thieves. Said Bennett: “Someone sees your car warming up — no one’s watching the car, no one is in the car — that’s a free ride to work.”
About the “Chief’s Message”
Chief Burbank issues a monthly video message to help the public reduce its exposure to, or mitigate the effects of, crime. All “Chief’s Messages” are archived on the newsroom page of www.slcpd.com and the “Chief’s Message” playlist of www.youtube.com/saltlakecitypolice.
Contact: Reporters seeking comment should contact the Public Information Officer at 801.799.NEWS (6397).