Auto Theft Logo-02
Part of the Investigations Bureau, the Auto Theft Unit (ATU) is comprised of a sergeant and five detectives.  Their mission includes:

•  reduction of auto thefts through education and enforcement
•  location and recovery of stolen vehicles
•  investigation of “chop shops” and career offenders
•  creation of partnerships with the community and outside agencies to foster a collaborative approach to combating auto theft


THE CLUB Program

The Salt Lake City Police Department has partnered with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) in efforts to reduce vehicle thefts in Salt Lake City. Detectives are reporting that some vehicles have been stolen on more than one occasion.

SLCPD and NICB have joined together to provide 200 Clubs (anti-theft device) to the public for free. It is proposed that the Club be given to the public that meet the following requirements:

  • Own a Honda vehicle up to 2002
  • Own a Subaru vehicle up to 2004
  • Own a Nissan vehicle up to 2002
  • Resident of Salt Lake City

To apply for the program, send an email to autotheft@slcgov.com. Include your name, address and license plate number in the subject of the email for consideration. Auto theft detectives will review the applications and facilitate the distribution of the Club.

The results of the program will be measured against historical theft records of the above listed commonly stolen vehicles. If the program is successful, the program could expand to include other makes and model years of vehicles.

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Click on the tabs below to learn more about auto theft and things you can do to protect your car and your neighborhood.

Auto theft by the numbers for 2013:

  • 2,194 stolen vehicles reported
  • 2,444 stolen vehicles recovered (1,896 Salt Lake City, 548 outside agencies)
  • 154 arrests for auto theft
  • 86% stolen vehicle recovery rate

  • DO lock your doors and roll up your windows when you park.
  • DO activate your security system.
  • DO consider window tinting as allowed by law.
  • DO use a steering lock or another device to visibly disable the steering column.
  • DO park in a well-lighted space.
  • DON’T use the console or glove box as a mobile lockbox — car prowlers report they will pry into locked boxes.
  • DON’T leave a running car unattended. This creates opportunity for criminals.
  • DON’T leave your key in the ignition just because you have remote access.
  • DON’T leave cell phones, cell phone chargers, purses and other indicators of valuables in plain sight. It provides incentive to criminals.
  • DON’T leave your car title in the car.

Victims of auto theft should follow the steps below to assist Auto Theft Detectives in their investigation, as well as to avoid being victimized again should any personal information in the vehicle be compromised by the perpetrator.

  1. The registered owned must be the individual filing the report of a stolen vehicle in order for it to be placed on the National Crime Information Center database.
  2. Provide detectives with accurate information about the make, model and distinguishing characteristics of the stolen vehicle.
  3. Provide detectives a record of all items inside the car, including serial numbers. That information will be cross checked against a database of items at local pawn shops. With a serial number, the ability to recover your stolen items is greatly enhanced.
  4. If your cell phone, banking documents (credit cards, bills, etc.) or insurance information were in the vehicle, contact all providers to alert them to the situation and take appropriate actions to secure your accounts.
  5. Consider contacting a consumer credit reporting company and using its services to monitor your accounts for suspicious activity. There may be a fee for these services. Alert law enforcement if anything suspicious is reported to you by these agencies.
  6. Make sure you’ve given all available contact numbers to the officer taking your report. If your vehicle is located, you will have a limited time to respond to the scene before it is sent to the impound lot. Impound and storage fees are the responsibility of the owner.
  7. The registered owned must be the individual filing the report of a stolen vehicle in order for it to be placed on the National Crime Information Center database.
  8. Provide detectives with accurate information about the make, model and distinguishing characteristics of the stolen vehicle.
  9. Provide detectives a record of all items inside the car, including serial numbers. That information will be cross checked against a database of items at local pawn shops. With a serial number, the ability to recover your stolen items is greatly enhanced.
  10. If your cell phone, banking documents (credit cards, bills, etc.) or insurance information were in the vehicle, contact all providers to alert them to the situation and take appropriate actions to secure your accounts.
  11. The registered owned must be the individual filing the report of a stolen vehicle in order for it to be placed on the National Crime Information Center database.
  12. Provide detectives with accurate information about the make, model and distinguishing characteristics of the stolen vehicle.
  13. Provide detectives a record of all items inside the car, including serial numbers. That information will be cross checked against a database of items at local pawn shops. With a serial number, the ability to recover your stolen items is greatly enhanced.
  14. If your cell phone, banking documents (credit cards, bills, etc.) or insurance information were in the vehicle, contact all providers to alert them to the situation and take appropriate actions to secure your accounts.
  15. Consider contacting a consumer credit reporting company and using its services to monitor your accounts for suspicious activity. There may be a fee for these services. Alert law enforcement if anything suspicious is reported to you by these agencies.
  16. Make sure you’ve given all available contact numbers to the officer taking your report. If your vehicle is located, you will have a limited time to respond to the scene before it is sent to the impound lot. Impound and storage fees are the responsibility of the owner.

Sign up for WATCH YOUR CAR

WATCH YOUR CAR is a national vehicle theft prevention program funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, United States Department of Justice. It is a voluntary vehicle registration program designed to deter auto theft and assist in the apprehension of auto thieves. Vehicle owners/lessees sign an agreement stating their vehicle is not normally used between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. If a police officer observes the vehicle being driven anywhere in the United States during these hours, they may stop the vehicle and verify the vehicle owner/lessee is operating it, or a person designated by the owner/lessee.

The WATCH YOUR CAR program is administered by the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division of the Utah State Tax Commission and is provided as a public service, FREE of charge, to owners/lessees of vehicles registered in the State of Utah.

If you’re interested in protecting your car — police officers across the nation are ready to… WATCH YOUR CAR!

Who can participate in Watch Your Car?

Any owner/lessee of a registered vehicle in the state of Utah may participate in the WATCH YOUR CAR program. Vehicle owner/lessees wishing to participate in the program must register online OR present their vehicle and the following three documents relating to their vehicle:

  • Photo identification (driver’s license, ID Card, etc.)
  • A current vehicle insurance card
  • A current Utah vehicle registration or copy of vehicle title.

The vehicle owner/lessee verifies the completed information and signs the registration/waiver form. The registering police agency/officer must physically inspect the vehicle to verify the accuracy of the information on the registration/waiver form.

How does Watch Your Car Work?

The goal of the WATCH YOUR CAR program is to help reduce the incidence of vehicle theft in Utah through deterrence as a result of the arrest of automobile thieves apprehended because of the efforts of the WATCH YOUR CAR program.

The decal component of the WATCH YOUR CAR program allows motor vehicle owner/lessees to display a front and back decal to their vehicle signifying to police that the vehicle is not customarily driven between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.

A vehicle owner/lessee participates voluntarily consents to having his/ her automobile stopped during the program hours to make sure the vehicle is not stolen. Through the program police in any jurisdiction are authorized to stop a vehicle with the WATCH YOUR CAR decal to check the identity of the driver between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.

How much does it cost?

The Utah Watch Your Car program is provided as a FREE service to owners/lessees of vehicles registered in the State of Utah.

How do I register my vehicle in the Utah Watch Your Car Program?

You can register your vehicle in the Utah Watch Your Car program in one of several ways:

I have more than one vehicle, must I fill out a separate application form for each one?

A separate Watch Your Car application must be completed for each vehicle.

My vehicle is registered in two (2) names, must both registered owner/lessees consent to participation in the Utah Watch Your Car program?

Yes, all registered owner/lessees of a vehicle that participates in the Utah Watch Your Car program must consent to its inclusion in the program due to legal requirements.

Where are the decals placed on my vehicle and how easily are they seen at night?

The Watch Your Car decals are made of a heavy-duty reflective material that is easily seen at night. According to instructions provided, the front decal is to be placed along the top edge of the windshield in an area not to exceed three inches to right or left of center, and is not to extend downward more than four inches from the top edge. This decal contains information and notification that it is a federal offense to remove the decal without the owner’s permission. The rear decal is round and is to be placed on the vehicle’s back window, driver’s side at the lower (left) corner. This decal serves as a beacon to law enforcement officers that the vehicle is registered in the Watch Your Car program. The Watch Your Car decals must be placed in the areas described above. If you have any questions as to the decals placement please contact your local law enforcement agency.

If I register in the Utah Watch Your Car program, may I use my vehicle between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.?

You may use your car at any time of the day or night including the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., provided you are properly licensed to do so.

If I register in the Utah Watch Your Car program, can I loan my vehicle to someone else who intends to operate it between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.?

Your vehicle can be driven at any time of the day or night including the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., as long as the driver is properly licensed and has your permission. It is your responsibility to advise anyone driving your vehicle that they may be stopped by police between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. and asked about their authority to drive your vehicle.

I am registered in the Utah Watch Your Car program and recently moved. I submitted a change of address form to the Utah Motor Vehicle Administration, must I also notify the Utah Vehicle Theft Prevention Council?

Yes, participation in the Utah Watch Your Car program requires that you notify the Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division of any change in your address or telephone number.

Where can I get more information about the Utah Watch Your Car program?

If you are unable to find answers to your questions about the Utah Watch Your Car program on this website, you should contact the Utah Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division at 801-297-2600.

How do I withdraw my vehicle from the Utah Watch Your Car program?

The owner/lessees of vehicles registered in the Utah Watch Your Car program must notify the MVED in writing when they withdraw their vehicle from the program. Use this withdrawal form or request a form from the Council by calling 801-297-2600.