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Evaluation of the Regional Auto Theft Task (RATT) Force in San Diego County, 1993-1996

Metadata Updated: November 28, 2023

The Criminal Justice Research Division of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) received funds from the National Institute of Justice to assist the Regional Auto Theft Task (RATT) force and evaluate the effectiveness of the program. The project involved the development of a computer system to enhance the crime analysis and mapping capabilities of RATT. Following the implementation of the new technology, the effectiveness of task force efforts was evaluated. The primary goal of the research project was to examine the effectiveness of RATT in reducing auto thefts relative to the traditional law enforcement response. In addition, the use of enhanced crime analysis information for targeting RATT investigations was assessed. This project addressed the following research questions: (1) What were the characteristics of vehicle theft rings in San Diego and how were the stolen vehicles and/or parts used, transported, and distributed? (2) What types of vehicles were targeted by vehicle theft rings and what was the modus operandi of suspects? (3) What was the extent of violence involved in motor vehicle theft incidents? (4) What was the relationship between the locations of vehicle thefts and recoveries? (5) How did investigators identify motor vehicle thefts that warranted investigation by the task force? (6) Were the characteristics of motor vehicle theft cases investigated through RATT different than other cases reported throughout the county? (7) What investigative techniques were effective in apprehending and prosecuting suspects involved in major vehicle theft operations? (8) What was the impact of enhanced crime analysis information on targeting decisions? and (9) How could public education be used to reduce the risk of motor vehicle theft? For Part 1 (Auto Theft Tracking Data), data were collected from administrative records to track auto theft cases in San Diego County. The data were used to identify targets of enforcement efforts (e.g., auto theft rings, career auto thieves), techniques or strategies used, the length of investigations, involvement of outside agencies, property recovered, condition of recoveries, and consequences to offenders that resulted from the activities of the investigations. Data were compiled for all 194 cases investigated by RATT in fiscal year 1993 to 1994 (the experimental group) and compared to a random sample of 823 cases investigated through the traditional law enforcement response during the same time period (the comparison group). The research staff also conducted interviews with task force management (Parts 2 and 3, Investigative Operations Committee Initial Interview Data and Investigative Operations Committee Follow-Up Interview Data) and other task force members (Parts 4 and 5, Staff Initial Interview Data and Staff Follow-Up Interview Data) at two time periods to address the following issues: (1) task force goals, (2) targets, (3) methods of identifying targets, (4) differences between RATT strategies and the traditional law enforcement response to auto theft, (5) strategies employed, (6) geographic concentrations of auto theft, (7) factors that enhance or impede investigations, (8) opinions regarding effective approaches, (9) coordination among agencies, (10) suggestions for improving task force operations, (11) characteristics of auto theft rings, (12) training received, (13) resources and information needed, (14) measures of success, and (15) suggestions for public education efforts. Variables in Part 1 include the total number of vehicles and suspects involved in an incident, whether informants were used to solve the case, whether the stolen vehicle was used to buy parts, drugs, or weapons, whether there was a search warrant or an arrest warrant, whether officers used surveillance equipment, addresses of theft and recovery locations, date of theft and recovery, make and model of the stolen car, condition of vehicle when recovered, property recovered, whether an arrest was made, the arresting agency, date of arrest, arrest charges, number and type of charges filed, disposition, conviction charges, number of convictions, and sentence. Demographic variables include the age, sex, and race of the suspect, if known. Variables in Parts 2 and 3 include the goals of RATT, how the program evolved, the role of the IOC, how often the IOC met, the relationship of the IOC and the executive committee, how RATT was unique, why RATT was successful, how RATT could be improved, how RATT was funded, and ways in which auto theft could be reduced. Variables in Parts 4 and 5 include the goals of RATT, sources of information about vehicle thefts, strategies used to solve auto theft cases, location of most vehicle thefts, how motor vehicle thefts were impacted by RATT, impediments to the RATT program, suggestions for improving the program, ways in which auto theft could be reduced, and methods to educate citizens about auto theft. In addition, Part 5 also has variables about the type of officers' training, usefulness of maps and other data, descriptions of auto theft rings in terms of the age, race, and gender of its members, and types of cars stolen by rings.

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Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: us-pd

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Metadata Created Date August 18, 2021
Metadata Updated Date November 28, 2023

Metadata Source

Harvested from DOJ JSON

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date August 18, 2021
Metadata Updated Date November 28, 2023
Publisher National Institute of Justice
Identifier 3595
Data First Published 2002-12-09T00:00:00
Language eng
Data Last Modified 2006-03-30T00:00:00
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 011:21
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Harvest Object Id 91389b74-ccfa-4fed-a5d0-35c2eb8a6d98
Harvest Source Id 3290e90a-116f-42fc-86ac-e65521ef3b68
Harvest Source Title DOJ JSON
Program Code 011:060
Publisher Hierarchy Office of Justice Programs > National Institute of Justice
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash fcd78218888c5d09837b551e5aaecaf7adcaae7b0cbcaa0347844451dba10833
Source Schema Version 1.1

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