Auto Theft Prevention has funds siphoned while car thefts reach all-time high

Mar 14, 2023, 3:05 PM
auto theft...
Kevin Dahlgren removes broken glass from a car window after it was burglarized on March 12, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

A bill, if passed, would dedicate 2% of the existing premium tax revenue to be used by the Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority to stop funds that have been diverted away from car theft prevention.

According to Senator Lynda Wilson of the 17th Legislative District (R-Vancouver), Washington Auto Theft Prevention Authority’s funding was being diverted to help fund different departments — including the Department of Corrections and Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) — all while auto thefts across the Puget Sound region have increased exponentially.

The best car theft prevention methods, according to local insurance agents

Senate Bill 5672 passed through the Senate on a 48-0 vote and now sits in the House’s Committee on Appropriations. If passed, it is expected to create approximately $7 million for auto theft prevention.

“And that’s what this [bill] is going to do. We’re going to stop that from happening so they cannot use that money anymore,” Wilson said on The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “There are too many good things that this account has been funding, at least in the past. And this was all funded by traffic infractions, we know that people aren’t stopping, and there are less cops on the road. So that is dramatically gone down. We’re only getting half, and then they were backfilling it with general fund money, at the same time having it go out to the Department of Corrections or DCYF.”

Meanwhile, motor vehicle theft in Seattle reached a 15-year high in 2022, according to the Seattle Police Department (SPD), with more than 45,000 vehicles reportedly stolen. The trend spilled into the new year, as the published data from the Puget Sound Auto Theft Task Force reported more than 81 cars were stolen per day in January alone.

Washington ranks third in the nation for the number of vehicles stolen last year, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s 2022 Vehicle Theft Trend Report, released last week.

The report said 46,939 vehicles were stolen in the state in 2022 out of a total of 1,001,967 nationwide.

“It’s always after the fact. ‘Oh, this account doesn’t have the money it’s supposed to. Why is that?’ And then you find out it’s being diverted somewhere else,” Wilson stated. And unless it’s specifically noted in the law, they can’t do it.”

SPD’s 2022 crime report revealed Ballard North, Capitol Hill, North Beacon Hill, Northgate, Queen Anne, and the Squire Park neighborhoods had the largest increase in vehicle thefts from 2022 to 2021.

Rantz: As crimes surge, King County to further legalize car theft, drug dealing, other felonies

“Who made the decision to divert the funds?” asked Rantz.

“I don’t know,” Wilson responded. “I don’t know that we will know, actually. And I mean, the thing is, if it’s this account, then what other accounts?”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-6pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

Jason Rantz

Democrat bill...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Bill by WA Democrats releases scores of murderers from jail early

The bill allows the newly formed CPB to give early release to dangerous murderers who haven't finished their sentences.
23 hours ago
capital gains tax...
Frank Sumrall

Lawyer: WA Supreme Court has ‘convoluted opinion’ over capital gains tax

The capital gains tax, signed last year by Gov. Jay Inslee, went into effect in Jan. 2022, before it was stopped by lawsuits.
4 days ago
drive-by shootings...
Jason Rantz Show

Rise in drive-by shootings a concern for WA State Patrol

There have been a dozen drive-by shootings in King County so far this year. That's about one a week. Troopers do not know if they are connected.
5 days ago
alderwood middle school...
Frank Sumrall

14-year-old student allegedly attacks teacher at Alderwood Middle School

The incident resulted in the arrest and emergency expulsion of the student. The teacher is currently at the hospital.
5 days ago
English cop ticket...
Jason Rantz

Rantz: Dem bill cuts English reading and writing requirement for public safety jobs

If you think the Washington government bureaucracy is inefficient now, wait until you experience life under Senate Bill 5274.
6 days ago
Rent ordinance...
Frank Sumrall

Seattle lawyer on tenants: ‘Lot of reasons to reject somebody with criminal history’

The court ruled the ordinance violated landlords' First Amendment rights after a lawsuit was filed by the RHA of Washington.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Auto Theft Prevention has funds siphoned while car thefts reach all-time high