The Downey Police Department on Monday kicked off a voluntary decal program to combat automobile theft in the city.
Participants in the free program--Combat Auto Theft--affix a bright yellow decal to the rear window of their cars. The stickers tell officers they have the right to stop the car between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., hours when the owner usually would not be driving his car.
The Combat Auto Theft program is modeled after a New York Police Department program that was started in 1986. Of the 49,294 vehicles enrolled in the New York program, only 84 have been stolen and 15 of those have been recovered, according to a Downey police spokesman. In the Southeast, Lakewood has a similar program.
Auto theft in Downey has been declining, according to a police spokesman. As of the end of July, 620 cars had been stolen in Downey, compared to 685 for the same period last year.