8-17-05 – Some Texans are taking part in a program and giving up some constitutional rights to help catch car thieves.
Thieves stole over 98,000 cars in Texas in 2003 and according to the Texas Department of Public Safety; a car is taken every five and a half minutes.
With those numbers in mind, the state created a program called Help End Auto Theft. Anyone who registers their car with the H.E.A.T. program gives any officer in the state of Texas permission to stop their vehicle between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. without probable cause.
State officials hope the program curbs car thefts and local officers are supporting it. In Sherman, 32 cars were reported stolen between January and April of 2005.
Anyone with a Texas address can register for the heat program online or by calling 1-888-447-5933 or register at here
After a driver registers, DPS will issue decals that can be place on car windows. The car’s license plate number will also be recognized by the Texas Crime Information Center so that if a thief removes or covers a decal, an officer will still know the car is registers as a HEAT vehicle.