Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office

Vehicle Thieves Beware: State Patrol, Nationwide Partner to Deter Theft across Iowa

Des Moines, IOWA --- Today, the Iowa State Patrol and Nationwide Insurance Company are launching a statewide initiative to deter and catch vehicle thieves.  In the following weeks and months, several highly equipped vehicles will be deployed in communities across Iowa.  These cars have GPS tracking and in-car video surveillance capabilities, all designed to catch car thieves in-the-act.

At today’s announcement Colonel Dave Garrison of the Iowa State Patrol said, “Our top priority is ensuring safety and protecting the quality of life we enjoy here in Iowa. So, we’ve been taking a close look at statistics and plan to place these bait cars in areas known for vehicle theft.  The unsuspecting thief will be in for a surprise once he or she gets in behind the wheel.”

Your car is your link to the rest of the community.  When you need to pick up groceries or take your kids to soccer practice, it’s the single greatest resource you have to make the day run smoothly and ensure everyone is arrives safely.  Your car is often one of the largest assets you have as well.  That’s why the crime of vehicle theft can have such a crippling effect on your quality of life and your financial status.

“About one-fourth of the comprehensive coverage of your auto policy is driven by auto theft costs,” remarked Bob O’Hollearn, Regional Vice President of Allied Insurance. “In Iowa the average for comprehensive is $160 a year, so that is $40 just to account for auto theft.  This is exactly why Allied is helping Iowa law enforcement catch those car thieves.”

Between 2006 and 2010, Iowa law enforcement reported 22,442 incidents of motor vehicle theft in Iowa.  That’s one vehicle theft per every 97 licensed drivers in the state.  Though final data is not yet available, comfortable estimates indicate there were more than 3,600 incidents of motor vehicle thefts in 2012.

The bait car vehicle project, sponsored by Nationwide, has been successfully executed in several other states.  Here in Iowa, Nationwide donated to the Iowa State Patrol, several vehicles and the surveillance equipment inside.  In coordination with local law enforcement agencies, the bait cars will be situated in various communities experiencing vehicle theft.  Then, Troopers will monitor in real-time, from a remote location, when and where the car thief has taken the bait.



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