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GFPD forms task force to tackle increase in vehicle thefts - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

GFPD forms task force to tackle increase in vehicle thefts

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GFPD has identified "heat zones" where there is a higher concentration of thefts. GFPD has identified "heat zones" where there is a higher concentration of thefts.
GREAT FALLS -

The Great Falls Police Department has seen an increase in the number of automobile thefts since August and they’ve formed a task force to deal with the problem.

The "Directed Enforcement Team" or "DET" is made up of three officers focusing their attention on tracking down stolen vehicles and mitigating the problem.

According to Great Falls Police Department Captain Robert Moccasin, officers discovered an increasing number of auto thefts starting in August.

Once the data was examined, the DET was formed.

Typically GFPD may not have enough resources to deal with many auto thefts.  DET allows the three officers who comprise the task force to address a stolen vehicle problem right away.

So far this year, 205 vehicles have been reported stolen, compared to 118 at this time in 2015 - an increase of 87 vehicles. 

August of this year recorded 22 stolen vehicles, September had 21, and October was the highest month with 32 stolen vehicles.

Although vehicles are being stolen across the city, GFPD has identified "heat zones" where there is a higher concentration of thefts.

While looking through data, Captain Moccasin said they found as stolen vehicles reports increased, officers were getting in more pursuits, trying to stop fleeing suspects.

He said this creates a hazard not only for the officer and suspect, but also for the community.

Captain Moccasin explained that many times the suspects were not just going for joy rides in the stolen automobiles, but using it as a means to commit other crimes.

"There are certain people out there that would do it by opportunity, but what we've been seeing lately, that this group is really working on, are those groups out there that that's what they really want to do is steal vehicles. Because what they do with those is they're committing other crimes in those and recently we found they're involved in narcotics, they're involved in firearms, counterfeit money, thefts.  So they're involved in a wide range of crimes, not just stolen vehicles. They're stealing them for a purpose,” said Moccasin.

Moccasin and the Great Falls Police Department are asking the public for help by taking steps to prevent thefts from happening.

This includes locking car doors, especially when temperatures drop and many people leave vehicles running to warm up. Also, don't leave valuables, especially weapons, in your vehicle.

DET will also be used to address other community issues in the future, possibly including traffic accidents along 10th Avenue South and other community concerns.

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