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GARDEN GROVE : Car Theft Prevention Program Launched

The Police Department is hoping that a new program launched this week will help cut down on the number of auto thefts in the city.

The Combat Auto Theft program calls for motorists to place a bright yellow decal on the back window of their cars. The decal gives police permission to pull the car over if it is on the road from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

“This is the time of night when most auto thefts occur,” Sgt. Patrick Thrasher said. “The decal not only allows officers to check the vehicle if it is on the street during that time, it also serves as a deterrent to thieves.”

The voluntary program, which has already been introduced in Anaheim, Buena Park and Huntington Beach, is a joint effort of the Police Department and the Automobile Club of Southern California, which funds the program.

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“We’re trying to implement this program in all of the cities that we serve,” said Neil McKay, district manager for the Automobile Club in Garden Grove. “What we’re after is trying to keep insurance rates low. If one less car is stolen, then the program has paid for itself.”

During the first six months of 1991, more than 850 cars were stolen in Garden Grove.

Thrasher points to the success New York City has had with the program. Since 1986, only 67 of the 37,320 cars in that city that were registered through the program have been stolen.

“The cities that are using this program have reported a lot of success,” Thrasher said. “With the large number of auto thefts throughout the nation, we’re looking at new ways to stem the increase.”

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So far, 40 residents have signed up for the program, which is free. Participants will also receive a booklet of auto theft prevention tips.

Applications are available at the Garden Grove Police Department, 11301 Acacia Parkway. For more information, call (714) 741-5762.


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