August 24, 2017 6:06 pm
Updated: August 31, 2017 1:44 pm

EXCLUSIVE: Calgary police ramp up auto theft team to target prolific offenders

WATCH ABOVE: Two years after a Calgary police unit targeting auto theft was dismantled, Global News has learned resources are being re-assigned to tackle the ongoing problem. Nancy Hixt has the details.


The Calgary Police Service (CPS) is ramping up resources assigned to tackling auto theft in the city, Global News has learned.

Sources confirm there will be a “realignment” of officers from one of the District Operations Teams (DOT) to the Auto Theft Resource Team (ATRT).

The move would add a handful of officers to the existing two members assigned to investigate auto theft.

Global News has learned it’s part of a six-month pilot project that could become permanent, depending on the impact the increased resources will have on stolen vehicles and crimes related to that problem.

Watch below from Aug 31: Following Global’s report, Staff Sgt. Jodi Gach provided details when Calgary police announced the shift in the operations team to focus on auto thefts.

It’s the first real boost to auto theft enforcement since CPS disbanded HEATT, the High Enforcement Auto Theft Team in 2015.

HEATT was made up of officers specially trained in surveillance and intervention tactics. They focused on prolific car thieves. While the team was operational, the number of auto thefts in the city was cut in half.

Watch below: Nancy Hixt’s three-part series on HEATT in 2010

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At the time HEATT was disbanded, there was a surge in violence in the city. CPS said the changes were needed to make officers more fluid to respond to emerging crime trends.

But that left Calgary without a dedicated team of officers dealing with auto theft.

According to a recent article published in 10-4 magazine, the official publication of the Calgary Police Association, the number of auto thefts in the city doubled post-HEATT.

“We want resources put back into lowering these numbers and teams that can safely deal with these situations,” the article reads.

Sources say the re-assignment of officers to the auto theft unit is in direct response to the amount of stolen vehicles in the city and will again focus on prolific car thieves.

The ATRT will work closely with the newly centralized break-and-enter teams and POET, the Prolific Offender Engagement Team.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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