The Western Colorado Auto Theft Task force has kept busy lately, using their bait vehicle to make several arrests over the past few weeks.
Law enforcement agencies from across the region have joined forces to tackle auto theft in the valley
"This is a multi-agency task force. It’s comprised of the Grand Junction Police Department, Mesa County Sherriff's Office, Colorado State Patrol, Fruita Police Department, and the District Attorney's office” said Kate Porras of the Grand Junction Police Department.
Over 150 stolen cars have been reported in the past year. Of those, more than 1 in 4 had keys left in the vehicle.
"Car thieves will target any area of town, and no matter where you are in the county, you want to make sure that you've secured your vehicle properly" said Porras.
Just in the past few weeks, law enforcement has made several arrests using a bait car including Cody Guerrero, Kevin Butler, and Felipe De Jesus Rodriguez. People can take simple steps to deter thieves from targeting their vehicles.
Doing something as simple as just locking your car door can mean the difference between a thief breaking into your car or moving onto the next vehicle.
You can also add an extra layer of protection by installing a car alarm. Mark Berkley of Berkley’s Automotive in Grand Junction has seen an increase in requests to have alarms installed.
"Used to only be one or two a year, and now it’s increased to calls on four or five a month. That’s because the city's growing. The crime rate may be increasing a little bit, I don't know, but people are getting concerned" said Berkley.
It may sound like common sense, but Berkley says the nightmare of having a vehicle stolen can easily be prevented by remembering 3 simple things.
"Don’t leave your keys in your vehicle, lock it of course with the windows down, and don't leave any valuables like iPhones, computers and so forth in them" said Berkley.
If you'd like more information about how to prevent your car from being stolen, you can click here.