Date: June 12, 2000 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact: Sterling Ivey, 863 534-6377 or 819-0221 pager
Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Tips

As the summer months arrive and residents begin traveling more, the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Auto Theft Task Force would like to offer the following motor vehicle safety tips that everyone should keep in mind:

  • Always remember to keep your vehicle locked.
  • Purchase an auto theft deterrent type device such as the collar, alarm or club for your vehicle.
  • Have your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) window etched. Should your vehicle be stolen, burned and/or pieces removed, VIN etching helps detectives with easier identification.
  • Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Put them in the trunk or out of sight.
  • Park your vehicle, when possible, inside a garage instead of on the street or in a front drive way.
  • Participate in the Sheriff's Office Operation Combat Auto Theft (CAT) program.

The CAT program is designed to deter auto theft, assist law enforcement in identifying and recovering abandoned vehicles, and improve law enforcement and community relations. The state-wide volunteer decal program is administered locally by the Sheriff's Office in conjunction with the Lakeland Branch of AAA Auto Club South.

The Combat Auto Theft decal program is designed to assist law enforcement by identifying automobiles which are not driven during the early morning hours. This is an indication to law enforcement agencies that the owner of the vehicle authorizes police to stop the vehicle when it is driven between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. The rationale is that no authorized person would be driving the owners' vehicle during these hours.

Automobile owners may register their vehicles at the Polk County Sheriff's Office or at the Lakeland Branch of AAA Auto Club South. Upon registration, a decal will be affixed to the inside lower left rear window. The decal identifies registration and contains an assigned serial number, which can be cross referenced with a registration log maintained at the Sheriff's Office.

For more information on the CAT program, please call the Polk County Sheriff's Office Community Services Section at 863-534-0980.

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Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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