CRIME TRACKER: Huge drop in local car thefts

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- KEPR discovered your chances of becoming a car theft victim are way down.

"It's disheartening when your car gets broken into, but when the whole thing is gone, you think "now what?!"

Crooks snatched Brandon Louck's car right out of his driveway. Every day, Louck locks his doors, inspects the hot rods, and makes sure the car's alarm system is raring to go.

"It blinks all night. Seeing it is peace of mind for sure," Louck tells KEPR.

Luckily, Louck can take a deep breath, because the number of car thefts is way down here in the Tri-Cities.

So far this year, stolen car cases have fallen a whopping 62% in Richland. There's also been a quarter fewer cases in Kennewick. Pasco has seen the least success, but even then, the numbers are virtually even with last year.

You can credit extra money with the drop. A year ago, local police departments received a grant that paid for officer overtime.

The result meant beefed-up patrols throughout town. Police targeted known car thieves.

Folks like Louck can also thank the Benton County Gang Unit. After all, gang activity often leads to stolen car cases in the Tri-Cities, so by getting those gang members off the street, fewer cars have been stolen overall.

As KEPR told you before, the Benton County gang unit has arrested hundreds of known gang members in the last year.

"Your heart sinks," Louck says. "You don't think it can happen to you, and all of a sudden your day-to-day routine is changed."

It may never be stopped completely -- but in the Tri-Cities, there is now an extra security blanket between you and your ride.