Levine Legislation Helps Law Enforcement Fight Vehicle Theft

Assembly Bill 767 Allows Counties to Increase Funding for Vehicle Theft Prevention Programs

Today Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) introduced legislation authorizing counties to increase funding for vehicle theft abatement programs. Under this bill, counties could increase their local vehicle registration surcharge from $1 to $2 per vehicle to directly fund these law enforcement programs.

“AB 767 gives local law enforcement agencies the tools they need to fight vehicle theft in their communities,” said Assemblymember Levine. “As thieves become more creative in how they carry out their crimes, law enforcement needs sufficient funding to protect those they serve.”

According to the California Highway Patrol, 156,796 vehicles at an approximate value of $1 billion were stolen statewide in 2011. In fiscal year 2010 – 2011 county vehicle theft prevention programs funded by the surcharge directly led to the recovery of more than $138 million in stolen vehicle assets.

AB 767 is sponsored by the California State Sheriff’s Association because of the program’s success and the need for additional funding.  In the last three years, Marin County alone has recovered $5 in stolen property for every dollar generated through the surcharge.

“This legislation is a critically important public safety measure,” said Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle. “The activities funded by this fee produce a remarkable return on our investment.  This is an example of government working well for our community.”

Current law permits every county to collect a $1 vehicle theft abatement surcharge. To date, 47 of California’s 58 counties collect a vehicle theft surcharge, and three counties are authorized to increase their surcharge to $2. AB 767 will allow every county board to increase their existing surcharge to a total of $2.

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