The Palm Beach County Multi-Agency Auto Theft Task Force was formed in June 1997. It is currently comprised of the following agencies, either on a full or part-time basis;
- The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office
- Palm Beach Gardens Police Department
- Riviera Beach Police Department
- West Palm Beach Police Department
- Boca Raton Police Department
- Delray Beach Police Department
- Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor vehicles (DHSMV)
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)'s Uniform Crime Reports 2006, a motor vehicle, which is one of the largest investments you make, is stolen in the United States every 26.4 seconds.
The objective of the Palm Beach County Multi-Agency Auto Theft Task Force (ATTF) is to present a unified approach in response to the crime of Auto Theft in Palm Beach County. Some of the responsibilities of the ATTF are to recover stolen vehicles and prevent further theft through proactive investigations. This is accomplished through:
- Inspections of vehicles entering/exiting the Port of Palm Beach for import/export.
- Conducting site inspections of salvage yards, body shops, junkyards, scrap metal processing plants, licensed motor vehicle/vessel dealers, repair shops, parking lots, tow yards and storage facilities.
- Investigation of individuals or businesses operating Chop Shops.
- Confiscate property used illegally for auto theft and initiate legal proceedings for forfeiture.
- Aggressively pursue individuals who perpetrate the crime of Auto Theft by various means of surveillance and decoy operations
- Investigate the ever increasing crime of Cargo Theft
Below are some tips you can use to avoid being the victim of a car thief:
- Never leave your car running unattended, even to dash into a business, store, etc.;
- Never leave any keys in the car or ignition, inside a locked garage, or in hide-a-key boxes;
- Always roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it is parked in front of your home;
- Never leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Put them in the trunk out of sight;
- Always park in high-traffic, well-lighted areas, when possible;
- Install a mechanical device that locks the steering wheel, column, or brakes. These devices will deter some criminals; (No vehicle or anti-theft device is 100 percent theft-proof )
- Investigate the purchase of a vehicle theft tracking/security system, especially if you own one of the frequently stolen model vehicles;
- Never leave personal identification documents, vehicle ownership title, or credit cards in your vehicle;
- If you must leave your key with a valet, attendant, or mechanic leave only the valet key.
- In high theft areas the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) should be etched on windows. This makes it difficult for a thief to market your stolen car parts.
- Copy your license plate and vehicle information (VIN) numbers on a card and keep them with you. If your vehicle is stolen, the Sheriff's Office will need this information to take a report;
- If your vehicle is stolen, report it to the police immediately.
- If you observe suspicious activity and suspect someone is committing a crime, such as tampering with a car or looking into cars, immediately call PBSO at (561) 688-3000.