LAREDO, TEXAS (KGNS) -- The Laredo Police Department is getting ready to accept an annual grant that helps them help you keep your vehicle safe.
The Auto Theft Task Force has been receiving this grant for a few years now, but it's because of the way our police department has been using it that we will receive it once more.
Carlos Lopez is a security guard. So, he knows a few things about keeping your car secure. Lopez says, "What I make sure to do is to have my wallet in my pocket, my cell phone in my pocket, and any change make sure to hide it. They're going to try and take anything that valuable even if it's simple change."
Lopez takes those extra steps to avoid having his vehicle stolen. Just a few years ago, Investigator Joe Baeza says Laredo was not the most secure place for vehicles. "At one point, a handful of years ago we actually were number one in the country in relationship to auto thefts as per the population."
The Auto Theft Task Force, or ATTF, was created to bring down those numbers. The grant will be used by the ATTF to continue their mission. Baeza explains how the program helps, "To reduce auto theft and auto burglaries. They also assist us with trying to promote education and awareness in our community."
Since the funding began the Auto Theft division has consistently shown a reduction in the number of auto-thefts in Laredo. Yet, if you ask Carlos Lopez, it's always safer to be on the safe side. Lopez adds, "To make sure that it's safe, you always have to double check that any valuables you hide them or take them with you.
Iinvestigator Baeza tells me the grant is used to pay overtime for special operations that target and dismantle car theft rings. It's also used on public education, which is a big component in reducing auto theft. Police also reports that vehicle theft is already showing improvement in comparison to last year's numbers.