The Highway Patrol is involved in a number of statewide vehicle theft task forces in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies, district attorneys' offices, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Department of Justice. Because of the high incidence of vehicle thefts in Southern California, the majority of task forces are formed there and focus on the professional thief and organized vehicle theft rings.
In January of 1994, AB 813 was passed which provided funding to implement and maintain on ongoing statewide cargo theft suppression effort. It is estimated that the direct cost of cargo theft worldwide is approximately $30 billion annually. It is estimated in the United States at between $12-15 billion annually.
The Cargo Theft Interdiction Program is a multi-jurisdictional task force which was created in 1994 to combat the ever increasing cargo theft problem in locations primarily in Los Angeles/Inland Empire, the San Francisco Bay Area, and San Diego. The success of CTIP has proven that the surveillance and investigative abilities of a multi-jurisdictional team exceed that of any single agency. Since CTIP began, CTIP investigators have recovered more than 237.6 million dollars in stolen property, recovered more than 5,500 vehicles, 1,850 cargos, and made more than 1,100 arrests, through December, 2010.
Los Angeles County is a major cargo distribution center with it's two major harbors handling over five and one-half million cargo containers yearly. In addition, LAX annually handles more than one million tons of cargo, while at the same time, the large rail system handles in excess of half a million cargo containers. Thousands of commercial businesses also ship and receive billions of dollars in merchandise on a routine basis. These factors, combined with a complex freeway network, make Los Angeles County a prime target for the professional cargo thief.
We ask the public to advise their local Community Station or the Taskforce for Regional Cargo Theft Interdiction Program (CTIP) of any suspicious activity involving cargo theft they observe or become aware of. If you have been involved in a Crime that involves Cargo Theft, please fill out the following form and submit information. Report information online Cargo Theft Loss Report.
CTIP background information, statistical information, theft information and other available information about CTIP can be reviewed at Cargo Theft Interdiction Program.
Sonoma County Auto Theft Task Force)(SCATT)
SCATT was established in 1998 as a multi-agency task force and is currently staffed by members of the California Highway Patrol, Santa Rosa Police Department, Petaluma Police Department, and the District Attorney's Office. In 2002, SCATT investigators recovered and/or assisted in the recovery of 184 vehicles valued at over $1,575,000 and made or assisted in 153 arrests.
The Community Effort to Combat Auto Theft (CECAT)
CECAT, an extremely effective multi-agency task force coordinated by the Los Angeles Police Department, directs its efforts primarily toward vehicle thefts in the San Fernando Valley. In 1995, this task force arrested 346 suspects and recovered 259 vehicles valued at $3,508,000. CECAT has been the subject of media coverage and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and on the television programs COPS, Hard Copy and Inside Edition.
The mission of OCATT, in operation since July of 1993, is to reduce vehicle theft incidences in Orange County and increase the apprehension of the professional auto thief. During 1995, OCATT arrested 66 suspects and recovered 251 vehicles worth an estimated $3 million.
The San Diego Regional Auto Theft Team (RATT)
RATT, formed in 1992, made 132 arrests and recovered 599 stolen vehicles valued at $6,649,575 during 1995.
Task Force For Regional Auto Theft Prevention (TRAP)
In 1995, TRAP teams arrested 487 suspects, served 265 warrants, conducted 464 business inspections, and recovered 1,414 vehicles valued at $18,646,425. TRAP teams focus on a growing trend in vehicle theft: stealing cars from automobile dealers or rental agencies by means of fraud, false pretenses and forged documents, and then exporting many to foreign countries. To combat this trend, TRAP, in association with the Greater Los Angeles Motor Car Dealers' Association, is developing a program to inform dealership owners and employees about how to recognize potentially fraudulent "sales" or "leases." TRAP is also concerned with another trend involving members of organized crime stealing Chrysler products, such as Jeeps and Dodge trucks, from Chrysler's plant in Mexico and shipping the vehicles to California where they are then registered. Many of the vehicles are not reported as stolen, since Mexico currently has no nationwide stolen vehicle reporting system. TRAP investigators recovered 33 stolen vehicles valued at $700,000 and arrested eight suspects.
Riverside Auto Theft Interdiction Detail (RAID)
In 1995, RAID recovered 507 vehicles worth $12,856,544, made 184 arrests for vehicle theft-related crimes, and closed 45 organized "chop-shops." Riverside County's vehicle theft rate also decreased by approximately 13 percent from 1994.
Santa Clara County Regional Auto Theft Task Force (RATTF)
RATTF investigators made 56 arrests and recovered 113 stolen vehicles and vehicle parts valued at $954,000.
Alameda County Regional Auto Theft Task Force (ACRATT)
The Southern Alameda Regional County Auto Theft Team (SACRATT) recovered 125 stolen vehicles and arrested 48 suspects for vehicle theft in 1995. In 2001, SACRATT and the Northern Alameda County Regional Auto Theft Task Force (NACRATT) combined to form the Alameda County Regional Auto Theft Task Force (ACRATT).
San Mateo County Vehicle Theft Task Force (SMCVTTF)
During 1995, SMCVTTF recovered 52 vehicles valued at $612,685 and arrested 26 suspects for vehicle theft.
Other Task Forces
In 1995, the Foreign Export and Recovery (FEAR) Task Force became operational with two investigator teams, one in the San Francisco Bay Area, designated as "N. FEAR," and the other in Southern California called "FEAR." The two teams are funded from SB 1743 and work with governmental agencies and private industry associated with the export of vehicles, such as U.S. Customs, Federal Maritime Commission, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.