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Metro Newsroom

Keep Louisville Safe Education on Auto Thefts and Thefts from Auto

Friday July 20, 2007

For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:
    Alicia Smiley     502-574-7761
    Phil Russell       502-574-7665
    Allison Martin    502-574-1909

Mayor Jerry Abramson and Chief Robert White today targeted auto thefts and thefts from auto as the focus of this month's Keep Louisville Safe campaign. Records compiled by the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) show that these two crimes can often be prevented when residents partner with police and utilize some basic proactive practices.

This month, LMPD officers have been working with members of the local media - blitzing television and radio stations with information and tips about how to prevent auto thefts and thefts from auto. Email alerts with prevention tips are also being sent out to members of LMPD's Citizen Observer Network, Neighborhood Watch leaders and residents who are enrolled in local neighborhood associations.

"We want residents to know that they can be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to auto thefts," Abramson said. "Often we take for granted that crime happens to 'other people' but all of us are potential victims of thieves if we don't take steps to secure our valuables."

To help LMPD in its education efforts, Rumpke Consolidated Companies has partnered with the department to provide anti-theft stickers that provide a warning to both drivers and criminals. The two-sided stickers include a message for owners reminding them to remove valuables from sight, lock their vehicles and never leave a car running unattended. On the opposite side, potential criminals are advised that theft by unlawful taking is a Class D felony, punishable by one to five years in prison.

"Auto thefts and thefts from auto are probably two of the most preventable crimes we have," said White. "Rumpke's decision to partner with the department has provided our community with a simple, but powerful crime-fighting tool. We're averaging a little more than eight stolen vehicles per day with our consolidated efforts we're hoping to see that number reduced by the end of the year."

Rumpke paid for the development and production of the 10,000 stickers, which will be distributed through each of the department's eight divisions. Division resource and beat officers will be responsible for dispersing the stickers to residents, community and neighborhood watch groups and other interested citizens.

"We are very happy to be involved with the Louisville Metro Police Department and the Keep Louisville Safe Initiative. We look forward to working together on other projects in the future," said Larry Stone, Rumpke Safety Director.

In addition to the anti-theft stickers provided by Rumpke, the department's Auto Theft Squad developed postcards, advising vehicle owners on ways to eliminate auto theft. The postcards were distributed earlier this year with a heavy concentration on downtown parking lots.

Among the nation's 33 largest cities, Louisville ranks as the eighth safest in auto thefts, recording 590.1 thefts for every 100,000 residents. Louisville also has a higher recovery rate than most cities with 64% of the stolen vehicles being returned to their owners. During the first six months of 2007, 1,506 vehicles were stolen with one quarter of those thefts occurring when keys were left inside the vehicle.

Keep Louisville Safe was introduced to the public in May when Abramson and White alerted the public to the problem and prevention of elder abuse. Nearly 200 attended a Meth 101 workshop the Mayor and Chief hosted in June.

Other topics to be addressed throughout the year by the Keep Louisville Safe include:

Mapping Crime & Neighborhood Watch

Protecting Children from Internet Predators

Domestic Violence Prevention

Identity Theft

The Proper Use of 9-1-1