STEPHEN DAVIS: DC car theft so out of control that city installs 'car theft' tags

On Wednesday, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the launch of a pilot program that will give certain residents free “digital tracking tags” in response to the rampant vehicle theft in the area.

Select drivers in police service areas (PSAs) “where MPD has seen the greatest increase in vehicle theft” will be eligible to receive a free digital tracking tag. Recipients will place the tag on their personal vehicle so that the owner and local authorities are able to locate it if it is stolen.

“Installing tracking tags in vehicles will assist MPD in combatting crime by assisting in locating and recovering stolen vehicles and holding those responsible accountable,” the press release announced.

Mayor Bowser said this program will “allow MPD to address these crimes [auto theft] recover vehicles, and hold people accountable.”

“We have had success with similar programs where we make it easier for the community and MPD to work together – from our Private Security Camera Incentive Program to the wheel lock distribution program – and we will continue to use all the tools we have, and add new tools, to keep our city safe,” the Mayor added.

Some online criticized the city’s new program not on its own merit, but because the city’s leadership has allowed rampant crime to become so common place that the measure is even necessary.

According to Washington D.C. police data, violent crime in D.C. is up 41% this year compared to 2022, while other crimes such as homicide (up 31%), robbery (up 70%), and arson (up 125%) have all shown dramatic increases this year.

Vehicle thefts are no exception. In 2023, 5,934 reported vehicle thefts were reported in our nation’s capitol city, compared to 2,954 in 2022. The D.C. police also reported 831 so far in 2023, 74% of which involved a firearm.

Acting Police Chief Pamela A. Smith was pleased with the city’s vehicle tracking initiative, stating that the goal “is not just to prevent carjackings and motor vehicle thefts, but also to ensure swift law enforcement action when these incidents occur. These tracking devices allow our officers and detectives to be better positioned to quickly locate stolen vehicles, recover property, and gather vital evidence for investigations.”

This piece first appeared at TPUSA.

Image: Title: DC car theft


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