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Police Department

Auto Theft Unit Receives Outstanding Achievement Award

On June 17, 2002, the Metro Police Department Auto Theft Unit received an Outstanding Achievement Award from (ACT) "Tenn. Anti-Car Theft Committee", and the (IAATI) "International Association of Auto Theft Investigators", for their work in reducing auto theft 53% from a little over 10,000 cases in 1996 to a little over 5200 in 2001.

The award was given out at the (IAATI) International Association of Auto Theft Investigators conference in Chattanooga TN.

This would not have been possible without the efforts of the entire Metro Police Dept, and especially the patrol division for their work in the field.

Patrol officers are the front line defense for everything that occurs in this city, and we in the Auto Theft Unit would like to express at this time how grateful we are for all your help, and to the officers that took the extra time to attend the Auto Theft School in April 2002.

In 1997 The Metropolitan Police Dept in Nashville, received two grants from the COPS office to research motor vehicle theft in Davidson County.

In 1995 there were 8115 motor vehicle thefts in Davidson County. Up 36% from 1994 and it was expected to exceed 10,000 in 1996.

Through the collection and analysis of data, it became apparent that a portion of the problem was the time lapse between when a vehicle was stolen and statical information was available in determining crime patterns.

To address this problem Auto Theft implemented a system to keep the staff better informed with more timely information. The new system involved manually updating excel spreadsheets daily with information applicable to motor vehicle theft, entered daily by the secretary. These spreadsheets allowed the detectives to search and filter data in order to monitor trends as they occurred.

In an effort to make the Auto Theft Unit more efficient, the Auto Theft Unit re-organized the case assignments and case management process. Three detectives, one full time and two part times, were assigned to process incoming paper work. In addition, these two detectives processed unfounded incidents and all recovered vehicle calls. Unfounded reports and vehicles reported stolen but discovered to be towed. Cases requiring investigation were passed on to the other detectives, allowing them to spend the majority of their time investigation legitimate motor vehicle thefts.

The "PARK SMART PROGRAM" Was developed because it is a low-cost initiative that requires very little man-hours to implement. Signs were produced to educate the community on how to Park Smart. (1) Lock your vehicle. (2) Secure your valuables and (3) Take keys with you.

Media Releases involved an interview with local news media and paper. The Park Smart Signs were promoted at the beginning and midway though the response phase.

During the assessment phase, the initial six months of the response phase demonstrated a 10.20% decline in motor vehicle theft when compared to the same six months of the previous year in the target areas.

The initial three months of the response phase demonstrated a 20% decline in motor vehicle theft occurring with keys left in the vehicles.

Calls for service for auto burglary incidents in the target area decrease 17.54%.

In summary, the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department's Auto Theft Unit responded to the motor vehicle theft problem by:

  1. Decreasing the time an auto theft detective received information that a motor vehicle theft occurred.
  2. Reorganizing the case assignment and case management process.
  3. Setting up a priority list of suspects and working from the top down.
  4. Organizing small task forces, between auto theft/burglary/patrol, and outside agencies in order to get the job done. THP/TBI/FBI etc.
  5. Forming a partnership with the community and/or neighborhood watch groups to distribute Park Smart Signs and discuss plans to address the motor vehicle theft problem in Davidson County.
  6. Forming a partnership with the media to advise the public to Park Smart.

The responses to these problems by the Auto Theft Unit improved the efficiency of the unit, which resulted in more time available to investigate motor vehicle thefts, and the people responsible for the most thefts, by the unit detectives.

Since 1996 the Metropolitan Police Dept has reduced the number of auto thefts in Davidson County from 10,000 to 5242 in 2001, a reduction of 52%.

This was a result of not only hard and dedicated work from the Auto Theft Unit, but also the entire police dept. patrol, news media and community through better communication.