Around the Washington, DC region, auto theft is a reality that is not going away any time soon. As area law enforcement departments struggle with depleted rosters from a combination of more attractive private security jobs and politically motivated budget reductions, it is often “non-violent” crime categories like auto theft that are left short-handed, underfunded or both. In Montgomery County especially, vehicle thefts have been on the rise in recent years, according to statistics provided by police. In 2021, more than 1,400 vehicles were reported stolen, a 23.46 percent increase from 2020. Most of the 2021 auto thefts have occurred in Silver Spring and Bethesda, according to a report presented to the Montgomery County Council’s Public Safety Committee last December. More than 300 auto theft cases took place in Silver Spring alone, the report said. As of June 6, there were 511 auto thefts in the county this year. The anecdotal evidence from WANADA’s membership reflects these alarming realities, as dealers across Montgomery County and elsewhere have been reporting higher than normal theft and fraud attempts at their stores, including several large-scale, professional robberies.
In 2021, in response to the uptick in these crimes, WANADA began working more diligently than ever with area law enforcement officials to receive and share information. This valuable tip sharing service has netted a number of stymied fraud attempts and recovered vehicles. If your staff becomes aware of an incident at your dealership and would like to share information, including security photos, descriptions, copies of fraudulent IDs or more, WANADA has the ability to distribute this information to the full dealer body as well as law enforcement officials. Oftentimes these crimes are related and auto theft task force personnel are uniquely equipped to connect cases that may appear disparate. This coordination is crucial to stopping these crimes before they happen and recovering stolen property when they do.
To submit information, please email John O’Donnell at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Joe Koch at email@example.com. If you are not receiving the alerts WANADA puts out via Constant Contact, please contact Joe Koch at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the distribution list. You can also find a list of area auto theft law enforcement personnel (with contact information) on the WANADA website here. Please also avail yourself of the theft prevention tips provided by the Montgomery County Auto Crimes Task Force to make your dealership a harder target here.
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