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Car Thefts Dip 20% in Valley, 11% Citywide

August 04, 2004|Noam N. Levey | Times Staff Writer

Auto thefts dropped about 20% in the San Fernando Valley and almost 11% citywide in the first seven months of the year, according to the LAPD.

Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn and Police Chief William J. Bratton traveled to Northridge on Tuesday to announce the dramatic decline in vehicle thefts in the Valley.

"Car theft is a big part of the crime problem here in Los Angeles, so out here in the Valley, we have concentrated on reducing car thefts," Hahn said at the Devonshire Community Police Station. "We are very pleased."

From January through July, 5,373 cars were stolen in the Valley, down from 6,691 in the same period of 2003. Citywide, 16,833 cars were stolen, down from 18,805.

About 30,000 vehicles are stolen annually in Los Angeles; last year, 86% were recovered.

Hahn has made public safety a centerpiece of his administration and his campaign for reelection, which could depend in part on how Valley voters perceive his leadership.

Hahn won the Valley three years ago but antagonized many of its residents by fighting against Valley secession a year later.

Tuesday, the mayor and the police chief credited stepped-up enforcement efforts in the Valley for the big drop in car theft.

The Los Angeles Police Department has been working with other law enforcement agencies, including the Sheriff's Department, to step up sting operations against body shops selling stolen car parts.

Hahn said the city is also increasingly targeting juveniles, who the Police Department says are responsible for many auto thefts.

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