Placing the bait and waiting for the criminal. That's what Hattiesburg Police will be able to do with the approval of two new bait car systems.
Hattiesburg City Council unanimously approved the purchase of the two quick deploy units Tuesday night. The equipment will be purchased from Supercircuits for $7,819.20.
"What it does is give us a tool to combat some of these grand larceny autos crimes," said Lt. Latosha Myers-Mitchell, the public information officer with HPD. "If the person takes the bait car, we'll be able to dismantle the vehicle from a separate location and actually catch the suspect red handed. There will be cameras inside the vehicle that will be hidden and give us evidence to get that criminal prosecuted."
Lt. Myers-Mitchell said auto crimes are a continuous problem in the Hub City. In a request for the equipment, Hattiesburg Police Chief Anthony Parker wrote the system is "needed to help with the reduction of Grand Larceny Auto Crimes."
"Well I just think it's just very important that we give our police officers the technology that they need to be successful," said council member Jeffrey George. "I think today's vote was step in that direction towards giving them the resources that they need."
Lt. Myers-Mitchell said the bait cars will get the necessary wiring and equipment in Texas and then will be back in Hattiesburg. She said any tools will help curb crime in the community, but drivers can also take steps to make sure their cars aren't the next target.
"It is a continuous issue and it can be curbed somewhat if people would just secure their vehicles," said Myers-Mitchell. "Don't leave them running for any amount of times, keep their keys with them, just be more vigilant with their vehicles."
According to the FBI, a care is stolen every 44 seconds across the country.