7951 E. Maplewood Avenue, Suite 110
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111
Serving Colorado, New Mexico, Utah & Wyoming
Carole Walker, RMIIA Executive
Director, 303-790-0216 or toll free 800-355-9524
Contact PIOs for local law enforcement interviews, Website: lockdownyourcar.org
Law Enforcement and Community Awareness Groups Put the Freeze on Auto Theft
"Puffer Week" Enforcement Slated for January 28-February 1
January 27, 2013 – Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI) and Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT) are teaming up the week of January 28-February 1 on a statewide awareness and enforcement effort to put the brakes on "puffers"—a term coined by car thieves to describe a vehicle left running unattended.
Leaving a vehicle running unattended is illegal in the state of Colorado, yet at least 40 percent of Colorado drivers admit they have left their car running while unattended (Talmey Drake survey). "CATI will lead a concentrated effort by law enforcement agencies across the state to prevent puffer activity crimes by issuing warnings and citations to drivers who leave their vehicles running unattended," remarked Randy Moody, president of CATI board.
"According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 50 percent of cars stolen have the keys in them," said Colorado State Patrol Lt. Colonel Scott Hernandez, board member of Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA). "As part of a larger effort to make thieves' jobs much more difficult and to reduce these statistics, auto theft task forces around the state have plans to take part in 'Puffer Week.'"
Currently, the East Metro Auto Theft Team (EMATT) is spreading the word to warn
citizens about the risks of leaving a vehicle running unattended by distributing CAAT's winter Lockdown campaign educational materials. During Puffer Week, EMATT will take the additional step to follow through on its puffer activity reminders and hand out citations.
Marilyn Alvarez made the mistake of leaving her car running unattended on a cold winter morning last December. "I've seen people on the news who had their car stolen because they left it running unattended, but I had never heard of that happening in my neighborhood," said Alvarez, who lives in a residential neighborhood in Westminster. "My car was parked in my assigned space, just a couple feet from my front door. I still can't believe that someone stole my car, in my neighborhood, in just a matter of minutes."
Alvarez did get her car back one week later, but it was trashed on the inside. "I felt violated," she said. "It didn't feel like my car anymore. It was an awful experience that I wouldn't wish upon anyone. No matter how cold it is, it is not worth the risk to leave your car running to warm it up."
CATI represents one of the many partners that make up the CAAT coalition, which receives funding from Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA) to combat auto theft through on-going statewide public awareness campaigns, education and citizen engagement. "The goal of the task forces is not only to track down and arrest the car thieves, but also to educate and empower citizens on what they can do to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of auto theft," remarked Moody. CAAT provided educational flyers that auto theft task forces place on parked vehicles around the community as a reminder for citizens to stay alert and protect themselves.
Targeted statewide efforts to step-up puffer activity enforcement for one designated week will extend the public awareness of CAAT's winter Lockdown mass media campaign that included online advertising and a TV commercial that aired in December, urging Coloradans: "Don't Make This a Winter to Forget." Auto theft task forces will place an oversized "Thank You" card from the thief in their local communities in addition to distributing CAAT educational materials to increase awareness.
In addition to his team's efforts to promote CAAT's winter campaign, Crime Prevention Officer Tom Poe with the Commerce City Auto Theft Prevention Program is participating in Puffer Week enforcement in addition to his team's efforts to promote CAAT's winter campaign. Poe currently has a Thank You Card displayed outside his community's civic center to create greater awareness of the anti-puffer message in Commerce City.
"Despite the decline in motor vehicle thefts over recent years, cars stolen as a result of puffer activity are still too high, and we believe just one theft due to leaving a car running unattended is too many," remarked Poe. "Not only is leaving your car running unattended an invitation for thieves, but it is also illegal in the state of Colorado. Puffer Week is an opportunity to remind people to take common sense measures to protect themselves and their vehicles," he added.
For ride-along opportunities, please contact your local law enforcement PIOs or Jane McGillem on behalf of Coloradans Against Auto Theft at 303-832-2700, ext. 215.
CAAT COALITION PARTNERS:
- AAA Colorado
- Beat Auto Theft Through Law Enforcement (BATTLE)
- Colorado State Patrol
- Commerce City/Thornton/Adams County Auto Theft Prevention Program
- East Metro Auto Theft Team (EMATT)
- Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force (MATT)
- National Insurance Crime Bureau
- Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA)
- Southern Colorado Motor Vehicle Theft Task Force
- Western Colorado Auto Theft Task Force (WCATT)
About Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI)
Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI) brings together public law enforcement investigators, and insurance company investigators, who are concerned with the prevention and investigation of motor vehicle thefts and kindred crimes; to promote the exchange of investigative information; and to create a forum for better communication among investigators in Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Region and the Nation.
About Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT)
Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT) is a statewide auto theft prevention initiative to educate the public on what they can do to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of auto theft. CAAT is a coalition of law enforcement agencies, the Colorado State Patrol, insurance partners, LoJack and AAA Colorado. CAAT and the state auto theft task force efforts are funded in part by the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA).
Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association is a non-profit consumer information organization. Affiliated with the Insurance Information Institute, RMIIA has been serving consumers and the media since 1952.