Less than two years since it was first put into operation in Mesa County, the Western Colorado Auto Theft Task Force (WCATT) is receiving statewide recognition for its efforts. In October the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority awarded WCATT the Team Achievement Award, choosing it above all other task forces in the state.
During the first six months of 2011 WCATT has recovered 17 stolen vehicles with a total estimated value of those recoveries at about $159,000. The task force is also credited with 12 felony arrests through June of this year related to auto theft.
“We are very grateful for this recognition,” said Sgt. Stan Ancell, WCATT Supervisor. “We’ve been working very proactively to combat auto theft in our area before it becomes a larger problem”
Four local law enforcement agencies and the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office make up the WCATT to combat auto theft in Mesa County. This effort is thanks to a 2010 grant from the Colorado Department of Public Safety. The agencies include the Grand Junction Police Department, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, Fruita Police Department, and Mesa County District Attorney’s Office. A total of 6 people, with representatives from each agency, make up the task force.
Mesa County has the 10th highest number of auto thefts in the state. From 2000 to 2008 the theft rate in the 21st Judicial District, which represents Mesa County, has increased from 1.18% to 2.39% of all auto thefts in Colorado.
Cooperation across jurisdictions is the key to combating today’s highly mobile auto theft suspects. The combined efforts that lead to the formation of the WCATT is part of an overwhelming consensus that a cooperative effort among all the agencies in Mesa County is needed to make a substantial impact and make the most of limited resources.
For more information about auto theft prevention visit www.lockdownyourcar.org.