There's a story over at the Corpus Christi Caller that talks about the success the Corpus Christi Police Auto Theft Task Force has had by switching to a data driven approach to solving a car burglary problem.
Auto Theft Task Force officers teamed up with crime analysts in the fall to keep tabs on those who break into vehicles the most, after former Police Chief Troy Riggs challenged the department for more data-oriented policing.
"In the past we'd put out a bait vehicle and just wait for the criminals to come to us," said Lt. Kelly Isaacks, who recently was put in charge of the unit. "That's just not very productive."
Now a crime analyst works side by side with auto crimes detectives. They comb pawnshop databases, arrest reports and other documents, looking for those who make a living off ripping off car owners.
Their comments about bait cars are pretty consistent with other agencies' findings in that area. Bait cars are just not very cost effective ways to combat these types of crimes by themselves. It's better to handle nearly any problematic crime with a more holistic, studied approach.
The Problem Oriented Policing Center has a great POP Guide Thefts of and from Cars on Residential Streets and Driveways that covers strategies for reducing these kinds of larcenies.
Has your agency had to deal with a car burglary problem? What approaches did you find worked for you?