DETROIT (WJBK) - Detroit top auto theft investigators were honored Wednesday morning during Turn Up the H.E.A.T. week.
Would you believe that 23,369 cars were stolen in Michigan last year? According to the Michigan State Police that number could be even higher as many stolen vehicles also go unreported.
"Our big thing is this: awareness for the citizens. You should be allowed to go to a gas station or bars any time you want to, but be aware. This is a true victim crime and it bothers me, because these are innocent people getting robber," says Detroit Deputy Chief Steve Dolunt.
Help Eliminate Auto Theft (H.E.A.T.), with the help of Michigan law enforcement agencies and alert citizens, is dedicated to driving that number down. Recently, Governor Snyder declared October 18-24, 2015 Turn Up The H.E.A.T. Week in the state of Michigan with the goal of familiarizing the public on how they can assist in auto theft prevention. Even better, Turn Up the H.E.A.T. Week coincides with the 30th anniversary of the organization.
"I think people are fed up, quite frankly, and I think the no snitching mentality is starting to wane a little bit because people want a good quality of life here," says Terri Miller, H.E.A.T. Program Director.
Matt Cullen, president of Rock Ventures, was the keynote speaker at the honorary breakfast Wednesday. He touted the resurgence of Detroit and spoke about the success of the H.E.A.T. program, which has been hacking away at auto theft for the last 30 years. But, criminals are getting smarter.
"Care are harder to steal, in total, because you need a key to drive away the car, so we are seeing an increase in carjackings. We're also seeing an increase in component theft, where they're stealing tires and wheels, airbags and catalytic converters because they don't have to take the whole car," Miller says.
Still, tips are coming in. Ten-thousand-seven-hundred so far and $60 million in stolen property has been recovered since H.E.A.T. opened its doors in 1985.
You can call in tips at any time at 1-800-242-H.E.A.T. For more information, you can also visit www.miheat.org.