Clark County Sheriff’s Office seeks public’s help curbing auto thefts

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The Clark County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division continues to see a significant increase in the number of auto thefts within the area and is requesting the public’s assistance to help law enforcement reduce what is often a very preventable crime.

In 2020, there were 581 vehicles reported stolen to the Sheriff’s Office. In 2021, that total number increased to 801 stolen vehicles.

To illustrate how prevalent this crime has become, the department tracked auto theft over a 19-day period in one single area of the county, the Orchards area. From Jan. 1-22, 2022, there were 23 vehicles stolen from the Orchards area alone. These numbers only include auto thefts reported to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, which occurred in and around Orchards, and not those reported to the Vancouver Police Department, which essentially covers any area south of Fourth Plain Boulevard. Of these 23 vehicles, five were left running or warming up in driveways or parking lots.

On Jan. 20, during a 30-minute period of our morning rush hour, patrol deputies located 19 vehicles left running unattended in the Sifton and Orchards neighborhoods alone. Deputies spoke with some of the owners, to help educate them on the dangers of leaving a vehicle warming up unattended.

It is important for the public to know that, in most cases, deputies are not authorized to pursue occupied stolen vehicles or use intervention techniques to recover occupied stolen vehicles. Therefore, most stolen vehicles are not recovered unless they are abandoned by the suspect. In many cases, these stolen vehicles are kept for extended periods of times by criminals and then used to commit further crime.

The Sheriff’s Office is asking the public to be more vigilant about their vehicles by not leaving them running or warming up unattended, and to set car alarms, do not leave keys in vehicles, block vehicles in at night or keep them in a garage if possible.

The Sheriff’s Office would like the public to be aware that criminals are often roaming both on foot and in vehicles during the morning hours, specifically looking for targets of opportunity. Don’t be an easy target for a criminal, the Sheriff’s Office said, and keep your vehicle locked and warm it up under your supervision.

People who have information regarding the location of a stolen vehicle or suspects involved, should notify the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, or call 311 to report the theft.