Nationwide Insurance presented the Houston Police Department, the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, and the Webster Police Department with a bait vehicle each to assist with their respective anti-theft/bait vehicle programs. Houston is # 4 in the country on total number of stolen vehicles in 2009 according the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Bait vehicles are standard, unmarked cars that are used by law enforcement to apprehend car thieves. The vehicles are outfitted with special equipment such as GPS tracking and remote-control immobilizers that allow officers to monitor the vehicle and seize suspects without engaging in a vehicle pursuit.
“Thanks to the Nationwide ‘Bait Vehicles’ car thieves in Houston are in for a big surprise,” said Harris County Sheriff Garcia. “Now that we have the ability to shut the ‘Bait Vehicle’ off remotely, it will be easier for our officers to apprehend the suspects without engaging in vehicle pursuit.”
According to the 2010 Annual Stolen Vehicle report issued by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Houston Metropolitan area had 25,655 stolen vehicles in 2009, and has averaged 27,656 vehicles per year over the past 3 years.
Vehicle theft rates are dropping in almost every region where Nationwide has implemented the “Bait Vehicle” program. Currently there are over 55 bait vehicles in service or in progress in 17 different states.
“Our aggressive ‘Bait Vehicle’ program has demonstrated their value in dramatically reducing auto thefts in cities where they have been implemented, and we look forward to seeing the same results in Houston,” says Peter Van Patten, director of Nationwide’s Special Investigation Unit.
“Nationwide Insurance is proud to present bait vehicles to the Houston law enforcement agencies to help fight auto theft in the City of Houston, throughout Harris County, and to protect the citizens of this community.”
Nationwide’s bait vehicle program is supported by industry partners, including Service King Collision Repairs, Safelite Auto Glass, Cross Country Towing, Copart and Insurance Auto Auctions, who donate the parts and service necessary to repair the vehicles.