Concord police arm car owners with Clubs

June 18, 2013 7:59:31 PM PDT
If you have a good, reliable car, you might have a problem. Thieves have taken a liking to certain older Japanese cars -- mainly because they're easy to steal. But one local police department is helping car owners fight back for free.

Lisa Manseau has more than a few miles on her 2004 Toyota 4Runner, but still, thieves seem to love it.

"My car has been hit with a lot of break-ins in the glass, at some of the public parks," said Manseau.

So far, they've just taken her stuff, not her car, but she's worried. Lisa's car is on a list. Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans and Acuras made between 1985 and 2005 account for two-thirds of the vehicles stolen in the city of Concord. That means Claudia Thomas' 2005 Camry is also a target.

"I didn't have a clue it would be something anybody would want," said Thomas.

So now, Thomas is taking extra precautions. She put a device on her car called "The Club." She got it for free from the Concord Police Department.

"Any older car, generally speaking, is going to be more vulnerable to theft. And this is just a way, another layer, that we can add to those vehicle to hopefully prevent them from being stolen," said Concord Police Lt. Dave Hughes.

The department bought 900 Clubs to give away to people who live or work in Concord and have one of those cars on the list. It's costing taxpayers nothing because they bought the Clubs with money they seized in drug raids.

"Basically, it's the drug dealers are writing the check for this program," said Hughes.

The Club is surprisingly effective. Not 100 percent, but just enough to make stealing your car more trouble than it's worth. That's good news for you and police because the crooks who steal cars are often about to use them in another crime.

"The vast majority of them are stolen for transportation purposes. The crook needs mobility, needs to move, and that's why they're stealing it," said Hughes.

By taking away their wheels, police hope to make criminals go somewhere else. They'll keep giving away those Clubs until they run out.

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