AUSTIN (KXAN) — Thousands of cars are stolen every year, according to Austin Police.
“Whenever your vehicle gets reported stolen, it gets entered into a national database where any officer in all 50 states can stop and recover that vehicle,” said Detective Francisco Jimenez.
The Austin Police Department said getting stolen cars back quickly can depend on if Austin City Council gives it something back in the budget.
“One of the systems that would help us a lot in recovering vehicles would be the LPR system that we are trying to get back,” said Jimenez. “Essentially that’s automated cameras that scan stolen vehicles that give a location and time where they were, and that gives us an opportunity to get that back.”
Jimenez said if council approves reactivating APD’s license plate readers or LPRs, it could lead to recovering a stolen vehicle faster than before. Austin has recently seen as much as a 40% increase in car thefts this year.
“So when you say, ‘what are you doing proactively?’ That is a tool we are trying to get back to get the vehicles back to our victims faster,” Jimenez said.
The cost of a stolen car is something Jimenez said impacts many.
“A lot of victims don’t have full coverage insurance, so a lot of times when they lose the vehicles, when it’s stolen, whether it’s the vehicle to get to work or just for primary transportation, if they don’t get it back in one piece soon or at all, they are kind of at a loss.”
City council votes on the proposal Thursday. If approved, APD said the LPRs can be reactivated and ready to use by October.