RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — Carolyn Martin volunteers for the Riverside Police Department, so she knows car thefts are rampant.
“One of the ladies I work with, she does the crime reports. And she will have stacks every week of stolen cars,” Martin says.
So when she heard about the new Help Eliminate Auto Theft or H.E.A.T program, she immediately signed up.
“If my car is out there, I want it stopped. I want to get it back,” Martin says.
By placing the following sticker on her car, it authorizes law enforcement officers to stop the vehicle between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. to confirm ownership of the vehicle. This especially helps those who do not normally drive during those hours.
“The theory behind this program is auto theft can often occur overnight when people are sleeping, take hours for a person to realize they are a victim, and during that time patrol officers may have come across the vehicle but had no reason to stop it or suspect it was stolen,” according to a press release.
“If I didn’t have that, they wouldn’t have a reason to stop it. And it could be stolen and could be gone by the time I get up in the morning,” Martin explains.
Riverside police say they got the idea for the H.E.A.T sticker after hearing about how it had worked in other states.
“Hearing from Texas, Arizona, New York, they’ve had a number of arrests from a similar program,” says Lt. Kevin Townsend of the Riverside Police Department. Officers are now trying to spread the word about the program.
Ana Miramontes thinks it is a great idea. “You can spend thousands on Lojack, and I have a car that has Lojack. This is just as great. I think it’s more effective and obviously more cost-effective,” she says.
Besides, she likes the way the sticker looks on her car. “It’s adorable! We love our raincross here in Riverside. Many people aren’t going to realize that it is a tool,” Miramontes says.
Residents interested in the H.E.A.T program can go to the Magnolia Police Station at 10540 Magnolia Avenue or the Orange Police Station at 4102 Orange Street to sign up for free. They can also sign up online.