Bill To Allow Law Enforcement To Check Possibly Stolen Vehicles With The ‘Watch Your Car’ Program

Published: Thursday, March 14, 2019 - 5:17pm
Updated: Friday, March 15, 2019 - 7:52am

Motor vehicle theft has historically been a problem in Arizona, with the state consistently ranking among the highest in terms of both rate and total number of thefts. In 2017, Arizona ranked 15th in country for the highest rate of automobile thefts and ranked 10th for the most number of stolen vehicles. Even though Arizona has been gradually sliding down that list, the rates and numbers have been increasing across the board.

To curb the theft of vehicles, Arizona has the Automobile Theft Authority which implements programs to do just that.

For two decades, it has operated the ‘Watch Your Car’ program. Those who enroll give law enforcement permission to pull their car over between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. or within a mile of an international border, to see whether the car was stolen.

SB 1303 is a bill currently being considered by the Legislature aims to clarify legal questions about the program, giving officers assurance that the stops are authorized.

"The bill went into legislation so we can help officers know that this program is being backed,” said Frank Ceballos, a spokesman at the Automobile Theft Authority. Some of the officers’ questions include, “Well, if I do stop this vehicle and it has been stolen, will this stand up in courts?”

36,000 people have volunteered to be in the "Watch Your Car" program.

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