This unit has several programs that deter auto theft.
APD's Bait Vehicle
The Austin Police Department's Auto Theft Interdiction Program (ATIP) uses bait vehicles to apprehend car thieves. The bait vehicles are parked in strategic spots throughout the city based on information collected by crime analysis. ATIP has used grant money to equip the vehicles with tracking equipment so that when stolen, the vehicles can be quickly located and the offenders arrested. The vehicles are chosen to present a tempting target for local auto thieves. Since the beginning of the bait vehicle program in March 1997, the Austin Police Department has made 212 arrests.
Salvage Yard Inspection Program
In 1995, the 74th Texas Legislature passed laws requiring salvage yards dealing in salvage vehicles and used parts to obtain licenses from the Texas Department of Transportation. ATIP inspects these businesses to ensure compliance with laws and regulations regarding the resale and demolition of salvaged vehicles. Additionally, vehicle crushing operations, repair shops and dealers are monitored to identify and investigate those businesses and individuals involved in fraudulent or illegal activities.
The Austin Police Department Auto Theft Interdiction Project provides a Neighborhood Liaison to increase public awareness about auto and burglary of vehicle theft. The Neighborhood Liaison is available to attend health fairs, festivals, neighborhood association meetings and other community gatherings to make presentations on auto and burglary of vehicle theft prevention. Additionally, the Neighborhood Liaison will set up exhibition booths and make presentations at local schools or to individual classes.
In 2006, the Automobile Theft Prevention Authority began laying the groundwork for a public awareness initiative to educate Texans about the growing problem of car theft. “YOU HOLD THE KEY” underscores the message that drivers can help cut car theft in half by taking their keys with them when leaving their vehicles. For more information on Auto and Burglary of Vehicle Theft Awareness, contact the ATIP Neighborhood Liaison at (512) 974-5713.
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Etching Program
The Austin Police Department, through the Auto Theft Interdiction Project, provides free VIN etching for your vehicle. The etching is a permanent theft deterrent device applied to all the windows of your vehicle, and may result in a reduction in automobile insurance.
When the VIN etchings are applied, thieves will see the etched windows and think twice about stealing your vehicle. As a result of the etching, thieves will have to replace every piece of glass on your vehicle before illegally selling it. This costs the thieves extra time and money, enough to make them move on to easier targets.
For VIN etching locations, times and dates, please view the VIN Etching Schedule. VIN etching events may be cancelled in the event of rain, sleet, snow or freezing temperatures. Please contact ATIP at (512) 974-5713 if you need further information regarding VIN etching.
Help End Auto Theft (H.E.A.T.)
The Help End Auto Theft (HEAT) operation is a statewide vehicle registration program aimed at reducing auto theft during nighttime hours. In Austin, over 40% of all vehicles are stolen in the late evening to early morning hours. If you do not normally drive your vehicle between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., you can volunteer to sign an agreement and have two special HEAT stickers placed on your vehicle. Under this agreement, if police officers see your vehicle being driven during the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., they may stop the vehicle to verify ownership.
Instructions for Registration
To register your vehicle in the HEAT Program, contact (512) 974-5713 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Be sure to bring the VIN, proof of liability insurance, your driver's license number, the license plate number and proof of ownership for the vehicle you are registering.
Those interested may register at any scheduled VIN Etching event or at the following location: