Texas Auto Burglary & Theft Prevention Authority funding facing crisis
Texas Assoc. of Vehicle Theft Investigators
   
 
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Subject: Texas Auto Burglary & Theft Prevention Authority funding facing crisis

To All,

It has been brought to our attention yesterday that there is consideration of not just the 4% cut across the board, but now this may be increased to 10%.

This would be totally devastating to the ABTPA and will surely reduce the number of Law Enforcement Officers on the streets of Texas and could cost LE and support staff their jobs. This will truly hamper Law Enforcement’s ability to address the growing problem of vehicle crimes in Texas.

The Citizens of the State of Texas are paying for a service that they need and deserve. Motor Vehicle crimes cost $1 billion a year. A very high percentage of violent crimes in Texas are directly connected to stolen vehicles.

Respectfully,
Lt. Tommy Hansen
Texas Assoc. Of Vehicle Theft Investigators


Texas Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority Historical Timeline

1991 – Texas had over 164,000 vehicle thefts

1991 – Texas Legislature creates Auto Theft Prevention Authority (HB640) to be funded by $1.00 assessment on auto insurance policies. Program has dedicated fund status at this time

1993 – First ABTPA Task Forces go into service. Instant success in reducing vehicle theft in Texas

1997 – ATPA loses Dedicated Fund Account status. Fee remains collected for dedicated purpose. From 1997 thru 2011 approx 25-34% of the $1.00 began going to the State.

2006 – The ATPA continues to do the best job possible. Such a good job that the Legislature added the responsibility of Burglary of a Motor Vehicle to the authority. However, no additional funds were made available. Thus, the change in the name to the Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority

2011 – The program continues not to receive collected funding. HB1540 is passed to increase the fee on insurance policies from $1.00 to $2.00 with the spirit of the bill to give the ABTPA $1.00 instead of .75 cents and State to get $1.00 instead of .25 cents.

2015 – In just this one year the ABTPA Task Forces recovered 10,155 stolen vehicles with an estimated value of $112 million dollars.

2016 – Through years of stagnant ABTPA funding, ABTPA looses 30+ investigators across the entire state.                

2017 - The proposed 4% cut by the State would cause the loss of another 6-8 investigators statewide. The possibility of 10% would more than double those losses of staff in ABTPA Task Force programs. Evidence supports that citizens of the State, Insurance Industry and other Law Enforcement agencies depending on the motor vehicle specialized investigators statewide would suffer continued financial losses and crime incidents. 
                                  
Thefts have been reduced from over 164K to less than 66K. Due to the tremendous growth in Texas, thefts are up around the state, but the appropriation of the $46 million collected annually for the purpose of combating motor vehicle burglary and theft has declined as a percentage of amount collected, people served and motor vehicles registered.  



3/13/17 Outline for ABTPA Press Information

1.    The Automobile Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority (ABTPA) collected $46 million in 2016 from a $2 fee assessed on all motor vehicle insurance policies sold in Texas to combat almost $1 Billion  in property Texans lost from motor vehicle burglary and theft crime. Despite increased collections, ABTPA is appropriated less than one-third of the funds collected and may lose an additional 4%.  The ABTPA estimates that ten investigators could be lost from the local taskforces that it funds if a 4% cut in current appropriations occurs.
2.    The potential loss of 10 investigators will create a long term challenge because it is not possible to replace them quickly due to the specialized nature of the training and the vast amount of experience that is required to be a motor vehicle theft investigator.
3.    DPS data indicate that motor vehicle theft has increased over the last five years. Motor vehicle burglaries have also seen a slight increase recently. While the growing number of vehicles insured in Texas has led to an increase in the collection of ABTPA assessments ($46 Million), the amount appropriated for the intended purpose has remained stagnant, leading to a gradual but steady decline during the past few years in the number of specialized investigators who have the necessary training and practical experience to pursue these cases.
4.    Representative Greg Bonnen filed a Rider to restore the 4% reduction in ABTPA funding, which will help the Authority to work with local law enforcement to stabilize the number of investigators throughout the state. This rider was not adopted in sub-committee with commentary that larger cuts may be in store for ABTPA.
5.    Per statute, the ABTPA established a plan to reduce motor vehicle theft and burglary in Texas in the FY18-19 Plan of Operation:
http://www.txdmv.gov/reports-and-data/doc_download/5479-plan-of-operations-2018-2019 . The plan calls for adding 80 investigators, 6 prosecutors, 20 crime analysts and prevention professionals, support staff and technology. ABTPA needs its full FY2017 funding levels of $14.9 million per year plus an additional $12.6 million according to the plan that was developed by stakeholders (insurance industry, salvage industry, law enforcement, and corrections).

ABTPA by the numbers
FY16 Collection of ABTPA assessments     $46 million
FY16 Appropriation    $14.9 million
2015 losses from Motor Vehicle Burglary and Theft    $937,723,379
FY18-19 ABTPA Fund Request – Maintain Current Appropriation of $14.9 million per year.
FY 18-19 ABTPA Fund Request - Appropriations Act Exceptional Item #1 – Restore proposed 4% funding cut of $596,793 per year
FY18-19 ABTPA Fund Request - Appropriations Act Exceptional Item #2 – Provide $12,655,912 per year to fully implement the ABTPA Plan of Operation.
85th Session ABTPA Proposed Legislation – HB 652 by Clardy- Dedicated sub-account in the TxDMV fund for depositing all ABTPA assessments
85th Session ABTPA Proposed Legislation – HB 3915 by E. Lucio III – Administration and authority of ABTPA (“Clean-up Bill”)
85th Session ABTPA Proposed Legislation - SB1321 by Hughes - Dedicated sub-account in the TxDMV fund for depositing all ABTPA assessments
85th Session ABTPA Proposed Legislation - SB 1348 by Watson – Dedicates 50% of the ABTPA assessment to a dedicated sub-account in the TxDMV fund.




Comments:
Are insurance companies benefiting from the efforts of the Automobile Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority? If so, why aren't they helping out?
Posted by Nick Elodeon at 3/15/2017 12:13:03 AM

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