Arizona is accelerating in the wrong direction when it comes to auto theft rates.
According to the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority, our rate increased by more than 8 percent in the last year. That is the largest rise in about 20 years.
State officials have been working to curb Arizona's bad theft reputation since the early 2000s. Since then, our state has been doing well - going from number 1 in the nation for auto theft rates to number 14. That is why these new statistics are so concerning to officials.
AATA and local police are hosting an event Friday to help combat these car criminals.
It is their 12th Annual Auto Theft Prevention Event that will feature a new Auto Crimes Safety Clinic.
AATA said that they will be providing prevention tips and techniques that vehicle owners can implement right away such as Vehicle Identification Number window etching, DIY tailgate theft prevention locks and glove box safety checks.
They will also be discussing a new program called Operation "Night Watch," which is a grant initiative with AATA that will work to bring "increased auto theft detection and recovery efforts during overnight hours when vehicle owners are most at risk and targeted by thieves trolling the night."
The free event will be held on Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza located at 1616 W. Washington Street in Phoenix.
Organizers will be hosting guests in the northeast visitor's parking lot.