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Courts and Police

Targeting Auto Theft With a Regional Task Force and Mapping Technology

Responding to rising motor vehicle thefts during the late 1980s and early 1990s, officials in the San Diego region formed the Regional Auto Theft Task Force (RATT).

RATT was designed as a proactive approach to the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of auto thieves, particularly those involved in major countywide vehicle theft operations (i.e., rings).

The Criminal Justice Research Division received funds from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to assist RATT and evaluate its effectiveness.

During the first two years of RATT operation, the fact that data were fragmented along jurisdictional boundaries constrained investigative efforts and pointed out a need for automated and integrated auto theft information.

The project involved the development of a computer system to enhance the crime analysis and mapping capabilities of RATT. Following the implementation of the new technology, the effectiveness of task force efforts were evaluated.

Project Manager

Dr. Cynthia Burke, Director, Criminal Justice Research Division
Phone: (619) 699-1910, Email:

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or