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Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act Program

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act Program

Richard Ward
Department of Justice
February 13, 1998

[Federal Register: February 13, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 30)]
[Page 7485-7486]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 7485]]



Office of Justice Programs
RIN 1121-ZA93

Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act Program

AGENCY: Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of 
Justice Assistance.

ACTION: Fiscal Year 1998 Request for Proposals (RFP).


SUMMARY: The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is soliciting grant 
applications from State governments interested in participating in the 
national voluntary motor vehicle theft prevention program, Watch Your 
Car, as authorized under the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act of 1994 

DATES: All applications must be returned with a postmark, or dated 
receipt by a private carrier no later than March 31, 1998.

ADDRESSES: All proposals must be mailed or sent to: Bureau of Justice 
Assistance; Attention: Watch Your Car Program Office; Bureau of Justice 
Assistance; 810 Seventh Street NW, Room 4239, Washington, DC. 20531.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Bureau of Justice Assistance will 
soon mail program guides and application kits to each State. The 
State's automobile theft prevention authority, where one exists, is 
designated as the recipient. For those States without an authority, the 
State agency that administers the Byrne Formula Grant Program will be 
the recipient. However, any State agency involved in preventing motor 
vehicle theft may apply. Only one award will be made per State. Copies 
of the fact sheet describing the Program are available by calling the 
U.S. Department of Justice Response Center at 1-800-421-6770. The 
metropolitan Washington, DC., area number is 202-307-1480. Interested 
parties with Internet browsers and installed Adobe Acrobat software may 
download and print a copy of this announcement by accessing BJA's 
National Auto Theft Prevention Program home page at http://
www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/html/wyc.htm. Adobe Acrobat software, an on-line 
fact sheet on the Watch Your Car Program, samples of the decals, the 
recipient of the program guide and application kit for each State, and 
other graphical images and statistics pertaining to auto theft are also 
available at this site.



    Section 220001 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act 
of 1994, Pub. L. 103-322, 108 Stat. 2074, codified at 42 U.S.C. 14171, 
contains the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act (MVTPA). The MVTPA 
requires the Attorney General to establish a national voluntary motor 
vehicle theft prevention program. A proposed rule was published in the 
Federal Register on October 24, 1995. The final rule was subsequently 
published on August 6, 1996, and awards were made to the States of 
Arizona and New Mexico. An FY 1997 RFP was published in the Federal 
Register on April 14, 1997 and on September 30, 1997, grant awards were 
made to the States of Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, 
New York and Tennessee. The purpose of this announcement is to notify 
States, that have heretofore received no funding, of the availability 
of grant funds appropriated under the authority of Public Law 105-119, 
Making Appropriations for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, State, 
the Judiciary, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending 
September 30, 1998.

Grant Offering

    BJA will be offering implementation grants for States that have no 
statewide motor vehicle theft prevention decal program in place and for 
States with existing programs that wish to make the transition to the 
Watch Your Car Program. Implementation grants will be awarded up to 
$150,000. BJA encourages innovative approaches to implementing 
comprehensive, unique anti-car-theft initiatives and will evaluate 
applications on the size and scope of the proposed project and how it 
can work in concert with other theft prevention measures. Other factors 
for consideration include the amount of public and private resources 
leveraged in the proposal.

Eligibility for Watch Your Car Funding

    A State may apply on behalf of itself and/or its respective 
counties and municipalities. The application shall be submitted by the 
chief executive of the applicant State agency and in accordance with 
established BJA application guidelines. Any State that received funding 
under the Watch Your Car Program during fiscal years 1996 or 1997 is 
ineligible for funding during fiscal year 1998.


    The purpose of the Watch Your Car Program is to focus the attention 
of law enforcement on vehicles that are not routinely operated during 
the early morning hours or near international land borders or ports. 
The program enables proactive investigation of auto theft before a 
stolen vehicle report is filed.
    Under this program, a motor vehicle owner must sign a consent form 
and obtain decals authorizing law enforcement officers to stop the 
motor vehicle if it is being driven under certain specified conditions, 
and take reasonable steps to determine whether the vehicle is being 
operated with the owner's consent. There are two conditions. Under the 
first condition, the owner may consent to have the car stopped if it is 
operated between the hours of 1 AM and 5 AM. Under the second 
condition, the owner may consent to have the car stopped if it crosses 
or is about to cross a United States land border or if it enters a 
    States elect to participate in the program solely at their option.
    BJA is aware of similar types of theft prevention programs already 
in existence. The most common program is Combat Auto Theft (CAT), which 
is used on a statewide basis and by individual local jurisdictions in 
California, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. Illinois has the 
Beat Auto Theft (BAT) Program and Texas originated the Help End Auto 
Theft (HEAT) Program.
    Programs such as CAT, BAT and HEAT function on a statewide basis to 
insure a level of uniformity among participating municipalities and 
counties. These programs have worked successfully in their States of 
origin since police throughout the State could easily recognize their 
own decal. But if a thief drove a stolen vehicle across state lines, 
the police in the adjoining jurisdiction may not recognize the decal or 
if they did recognize it, lacked the authorization to stop the vehicle 
and check the identity of the driver. The dissimilarity of statewide 
programs has been further complicated by the proliferation of local 
anti-car theft programs in States with no statewide program. Numerous 
municipalities and counties have adopted a variety of programs 
utilizing differing emblems, icons, and symbols.
    The main advantage of the national Watch Your Car Program is its 
use of a decal that will eventually become a recognizable icon by 
police nationwide. It features the capability of intra/interstate 
enforcement through the checking of vehicles with differing county and/
or out-of-state license plates.
    BJA's specifications call for the manufacture of tamper-resistant 
decals made from retro reflective sheeting to

[[Page 7486]]

make them easily discernible at night. The windshield decal(s) are to 
be applied on the outside of the glass directly above the inside rear-
view mirror. The rear window decal is affixed on the exterior face 
along the lower left side.
    The MVTPA Program compels a thief to remove tamper-resistant decals 
while alongside the vehicle, acting suspiciously and drawing attention 
to himself/herself. These impediments, in addition to other theft 
prevention devices such as steering wheel locks, increase the number of 
hurdles a thief must overcome and raises the level of theft deterrence.
    The MVTPA requires, as a condition of participation, that each 
State agree to take reasonable steps to ensure that law enforcement 
officials throughout its jurisdiction are familiar with the program, 
and with the conditions under which motor vehicles may be stopped.
    This program is a Federal program that operates separately from any 
existing State or local motor vehicle theft prevention program. It is 
not intended to preempt existing State or local laws or programs.

Application Requirements

Problem Statement

    States wishing to apply shall provide an assessment of the auto 
theft problem in their jurisdiction and what efforts have been 
undertaken to address it. Applicants should contrast the severity of 
their auto theft problem to other States and discern the patterns and 
trends of auto theft. States should also identify what steps have been 
taken to decrease auto theft. For instance, does the State have an 
automobile theft prevention authority and what types of initiatives 
does it support to combat auto theft.

Goals and Objectives

    The applicant must provide goals, objectives, and methods of 
implementation for the project that are consistent with the program 
announcement. Objectives should be clear, measurable, attainable, and 
focused on the methods used to conduct the project. Favorable 
consideration will be given to those applicants who merge their auto 
theft enforcement efforts and their prevention initiatives into a 
coherent strategy and establish goals and objectives based upon the 
anticipated collective outcome of both approaches.

Project Strategy or Design

    The project strategy or design should describe the Watch Your Car 
program the State wishes to implement including its size and scope; 
outreach efforts to educate the public; statewide training programs to 
inform municipal, county and state law enforcement officers of the 
program; a description of the database if the State wishes to maintain 
a centralized computer registry; the production and dissemination of 
universal consent forms authorizing traffic stops by any local, State, 
or Federal law enforcement officer pursuant to the stipulated program 
condition(s); and efforts to be undertaken to enlist both public and 
private organizations such as auto dealers, auto insurance companies, 
and other major retail businesses willing to host registration programs 
and encourage employee participation.

Implementation Plan

    Applicant should provide an implementation plan for the program 
outlined above. It should include a schedule to include milestones for 
significant tasks in a chart form.

Additional Resource Commitments

    Applicants are encouraged to leverage other resources--State, 
local, or private--in support of this project.

Project Management Structure

    The applicant should describe how the project will be structured, 
organized, and managed. It should identify and describe the 
qualifications and experience of the project director and project 
staff, how they will be selected, and their roles and responsibilities.

Organizational Capability

    The applicant should describe the organizational experience, both 
programmatic and financial, that qualifies it to manage the project.

Program Evaluation

    The program evaluation should indicate how the applicant will 
assess the success of project implementation and the extent to which 
the strategy achieved the project's goals and objectives.
Richard Ward,
Deputy Director, Bureau of Justice Assistance.
[FR Doc. 98-3632 Filed 2-12-98; 8:45 am]

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