Motor Vehicle Theft: A Relationship to Other Crimes

Law enforcement agencies are constantly challenged with negotiating a variety of pressing issues while striving to maintain high ethical, moral, legal, and professional standards. Of utmost importance is the principle to protect the public from harm. Many agencies have experienced competing calls for service that have driven prioritization to threats to life and safety, thus reducing attention to property crimes, including auto theft. Additionally, economic
stressors and public concern priorities have pressured many law enforcement agencies to generalize investigative services, which makes officers’ developing the level of expertise, legacy knowledge, and specialization needed to fully combat auto thefts and related criminal activities a challenge.
With these challenges in mind, an officer’s initial thought of auto theft may normally, if erroneously, be that “it’s just a property crime,” whereby the owner’s economic loss may be recuperated or lessened by an insurance claim. However, auto theft is often related to a mode of transportation and a mechanism to commit other crimes, including violent crimes.