Police using bait cars to cut down on car break-ins

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Columbia police have used bait cars in the city for the past six years when stolen vehicles were at an all-time high. However, last month, the program got a face-lift.

Steve Brown, a retired Columbia officer, took the program under his wing to add more cars and improve its technology.

The focus right now is not so much on people stealing vehicles, but instead car break-ins.

In just two days last week, there were 22 car break-ins.

"It's one of those prevalent crimes so bad in the United States like people running red lights or speeding," said Brown.

The bait car is able to capture these types of criminals through the car's strategic placement.

"It's something that affects everybody," Brown said. "There's no neighborhood that is immune from it. There is no socioeconomic lines it does not cross."

Once a bait car is stolen or stolen from, an alarm triggers and alerts the police department. They can then track the vehicle and everything that happens inside the car is recorded.

Police even have the ability to completely stop the car and lock it so that a car chase is not possible.

Since the use of bait cars, the number of stolen vehicles is steadily decreasing. In 2012, there were 70 fewer stolen cars than in 2007.

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