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Car thieves in Sedona will go away empty-handed this year if the Sedona Police Department has anything to say about it.

By Susan Johnson

Larson Newspapers

Car thieves in Sedona will go away empty-handed this year if the Sedona Police Department has anything to say about it.

On Saturday, March 1, SPD will host “Vehicle Theft Prevention and Awareness Day” at City Hall, 100 Roadrunner Drive, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Free vehicle identification number window etching will be offered to vehicle owners on a first-come first-served basis.

VIN etching takes only a few minutes and is applied to every window on the car, making theft less lucrative for auto snatchers who must replace all of the glass before they can re-sell the car.

Drivers who attend the event can also enroll in the Watch Your Car Decal Program.

The decal is intended for use by vehicle owners who typically don’t drive their car between the hours of 1 and 5 a.m., the time period in which the vast majority of cars are stolen.

It is also used by drivers who don’t typically drive within a mile of an international border.

The decal sends two signals.

One is to law enforcement officers that the car is not usually in operation in the middle of the night.

The other signal warns potential thieves that driving that car during those hours or within a mile of the international border with Mexico or Canada is a red flag for law enforcement.

According to the most recent fact sheet distributed by the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority, there were nearly 55,000 cars stolen in the state of Arizona in 2006, one every nine minutes and 48 seconds, placing the state third in rates of theft per number of inhabitants.

Motorists in Sedona lost only 13 of those cars in 2006, however, residents in Sedona who park their cars in Phoenix have a far greater chance of losing their wheels. In Arizona’s largest city, over 24,000 cars were stolen in 2006.

Recovery rates for those cars have decreased and in 2006 stood at 68.6 percent.

AATA information indicated that the greatest influence on Arizona’s car theft rate is proximity both to California seaports, where vehicles are smuggled overseas, and to the border with Mexico.

Some cars are stolen simply as a means of transportation while others are used in committing further crimes including armed robberies, drive-by shootings and smuggling, according to AATA.

In addition, according to a report issued by Interpol, stolen vehicles have been shipped overseas where they provide illicit funding for international terrorism as well as used for car bombings.


Susan Johnson can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 129 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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