Auto Theft Task Force
The Sheriff’s Combined Auto Theft Task Force (SCATTF) is a grant-funded program through the State of Texas, which is overseen by the Texas Automobile Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority (ABTPA). Funding is generated by a $2 fee on motor vehicle insurance policies issued within the state. In addition, local jurisdictions have closely matched the funding efforts of the State to help operate all of the highly specialized law enforcement programs that are funded by the ABPTA. Since its inception, ABTPA funded task forces have reduced motor vehicle theft by over 60% and the recovery of stolen motor vehicles has increased by 20%. The total value of vehicles and other properties recovered by the ABTPA task forces has exceeded $11.6 Billion dollars. This has become a billion dollar a year criminal trade.
The Sheriff’s Combined Auto Theft Task Force is managed by Travis County, and currently encompasses the following 18 counties within Central Texas: Bastrop, Bell, Blanco, Caldwell, Colorado, Comal, Fayette, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays, Jackson, Lee, Llano, Milan, Travis, Wharton, Williamson and Wilson.
The task force includes one sergeant who is charged with overseeing the daily operations of eleven investigators and one community liaison. These investigators are spread across various counties based upon need, and work closely with neighboring counties as well.
Some of the primary goals of the Sheriff’s Combined Auto Theft Task Force are to reduce auto burglary, auto theft, and related gateway crimes, investigate and solve active cases, and educate the public about methods they can take to help prevent these crimes from occurring. Some of the proactive measures they utilize to achieve these goals include:
- Conducting Salvage Yard Inspections
- Performing Interdiction Activities
- Locating Chop Shops
- Identifying Automotive Organized Crime
- Performing Surveillance to Apprehend Criminals committing Burglary of Vehicles
- Conducting Operations which Target Offenders
- Scheduling and Performing 68-A Inspections (State requirement)
- Performing VIN Etching Services and Attending Community Events to Educate the Public