Rash Of Thefts Has Plagued Co-Op City This Year

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — More than 4,200 cars have been stolen in New York City this year alone, and they are easy targets for thieves.

But as CBS 2’s Don Champion reported, some people were taking part Saturday in special programs aimed at cutting back on the trend.

“I got an alarm; LoJack — I’ve been pretty lucky,” said Hector Falcon of the Co-Op City section of the Bronx.

Falcon is never one to take chances when it comes to protecting his car.

“You’ve got to be lucky,” he said. “I’ve been here 43 years and nothing happened to my car.”

But keeping that streak of luck going may get hard. Criminals have been targeting Co-Op City.

NYPD numbers showed there were 87 cars stolen in the area this time last year. During the same period this year, there has been a 17 percent jump with 102 reported.

“A lot of time, you’ll see the broken glass and stealing,” said Viren Patel.

Patel works in the area, and was among those trying to protect themselves — signing up for programs aimed at making it harder for crooks to steal cars.

“It’s frustrating, and you can’t track them down,” Patel said, “and this program will help.”

One program being offered is called CAT. With the use of stickers placed on cars, it allows an officer to pull that vehicle over between 1 a.m. ad 5 a.m. when most cars are stolen.

Another program called VIN permanently etches car owners’ vehicle identification numbers onto the glass of their cars, making it harder for a criminal to try and sell parts to a scrap yard.

The programs are offered citywide, but are being stepped up in the Co-Op city area because of the latest trend.

“It’s a great precaution for me, and I also get a discount on insurance,” said April Taylor, who got her VIN etched onto her car.

Taylor already has been the victim of car theft, and now tries doing anything she can to not be victimized again.

“It lets the people who are doing bad things be aware that people in the community are not going to let them come out and take things that belong to them,” she said.

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