Vehicle crimes have risen over the last two years in Texas, prompting a $13.6 million crime prevention grant from the Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority to law enforcement agencies.
The National Institute Crime Bureau recorded a 326 percent increase in catalytic converter thefts from 2019 to 2020 in an area including Central Texas.
A report on ABC25 noted the grant from MVCPA will provide support for the setting up of motor vehicle crime enforcement teams.
The teams will comprise seasoned investigators to note trends, use specialized equipment, and coordinate the crime prevention effort across Texas cities and counties that are seeing this crime on the rise.
The 24 agencies will be able to use the money to set up multi-jurisdictional task forces where agencies can combine their resources to tackle auto crimes such as catalytic converter thefts.
The city of Dallas will receive $797,3389, Dallas County will receive $544,454, Brownsville will receive just over $1 million, Tarrant County $1.3 million, Travis County $697,000, and the City of Houston will receive $1.2 million.
“The vision of MVCPA is to empower communities to help free Texans from the harm and loss caused by motor vehicle crime,” Laredo Assistant Chief of Police and MVCPA Board Chair Mike Rodriguez told ABC25. “Not only the loss an individual faces when their vehicle is stolen but other crimes committed with stolen vehicles like human trafficking and drug smuggling.”
The news report noted the thefts of hundreds of catalytic converters in areas such as Waco. The Waco theft hit worked with McLennan County Sheriff’s Office and Woodway PSD in a joint investigation in Sept. 2020 to hunt down over 150 catalytic converters stolen off vehicles in the community.
Taskforces funded by MVCPA made major efforts in fighting motor vehicle thefts in the Fiscal Year 2020, including recovering 12,860 vehicles and clearing 19,258 motor vehicle theft cases. The task forces arrested almost 4,000 people for motor vehicle theft-related offenses, according to reports.
Dallas Police Lieutenant and MVCPA Board Member Julio Gonzalez said the grants will allow police departments and sheriff’s departments to directly target criminals responsible for car crimes.
Motor vehicle thefts are taken seriously in Texas. These crimes are typically punishable by 180 days to 10 years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Joyriding is a state jail felony. Offenders can receive a punishment of 180 days to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
If you or a family member has been charged with this crime, please contact our experienced Dallas car crime attorneys at (214) 720-9552.