Burleson City Council members approved the continuation of a tri-county task force designed to prevent and lower motor vehicle burglaries which has showed positive results.
Burleson saw a decrease in vehicle burglaries and auto thefts for the last quarter of 2011 and the first two months of 2012, which was around the time the task force became operational in September.
According to data collected from Burleson Police Department, vehicle theft and burglaries began to spike at the beginning of 2011. BPD recorded 269 vehicle burglaries and 50 thefts last year.
The task force, which includes law enforcement officials from Johnson, Tarrant and Ellis counties, was created to coordinate activities directed at both auto theft and burglary reduction.
Law enforcement activities include, but are not limited to, bait car deployment and arrest, surveillance details, covert operations, assistance to law enforcement agencies, training of officers and educating the public in vehicle theft awareness.
To fund the task force, the city of Mansfield will submit a grant request to the Texas Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority.
The grant is funded by automobile insurance companies. Each vehicle registered in Texas is assessed a $1 fee per vehicle which is paid to the insurance companies.
They in turn send that to the Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority. Last fiscal year (2009-10), $12,750,000 was distributed within Texas to 29 agencies.
In addition to the task force, BPD also uses the Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety, or DDACTS, to help law enforcement agencies spot crime trends and areas prone to criminal activity.
In other cities where DDACTS has been implemented there have been decreases in burglary, vandalism, thefts from motor vehicles, traffic crashes and drug violation, BPD Chief Tom Cowan said.
“As an example, before DDACTS, we experienced 30 burglaries of motor vehicle offenses in August and 38 in September. After DDACTS, we had 11 in October, 16 in November and 20 in December,” he said. “We were also able to stop a trend of Dodge truck thefts by arrest. Also, we have seen an increase in DWI arrests from 19 during August and September to 25 in October and November. These three issues were the first addressed using DDACTS, obviously it is too early to assess its effectiveness but these results are encouraging. We will likely review the results quarterly.”