National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Assessing Trends and Best Practices of Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Programs in the United States, 2003 (ICPSR 4278)

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This trends and best practices evaluation geared toward motor vehicle theft prevention with a particular focus on the Watch Your Car (WYC) program was conducted between October 2002 and March 2004. On-site and telephone interviews were conducted with administrators from 11 of 13 WYC member states. Surveys were mailed to the administrators of auto theft prevention programs in 36 non-WYC states and the 10 cities with the highest motor vehicle theft rates. Completed surveys were returned from 16 non-WYC states and five of the high auto theft rate cities. Part 1, the survey for Watch Your Car (WYC) program members, includes questions about how respondents learned about the WYC program, their WYC related program activities, the outcomes of their program, ways in which they might have done things differently if given the opportunity, and summary questions that asked WYC program administrators for their opinions about various aspects of the overall WYC program. The survey for the nonmember states, Part 2, and cities, Part 3, collected information about motor vehicle theft prevention within the respondent's state or city and asked questions about the respondent's knowledge of, and opinions about, the Watch Your Car program.

Access Notes

  • One or more files in this study are not available for download due to special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the data. A login is required to apply for access. (How to apply.)

    Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Dataset(s)

DS1:  Watch Your Car States Summary Form Data
Documentation:
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No downloadable data files available.
DS2:  Non-Watch Your Car States Summary Form Data
Documentation:
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No downloadable data files available.
DS3:  City Summary Form Data
Documentation:
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No downloadable data files available.

Study Description

Citation

Curtin, Patrick, David Thomas, Daniel Felker, and Eric Weingart. Assessing Trends and Best Practices of Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Programs in the United States, 2003. ICPSR04278-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2007-09-27. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR04278.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (ASP-T-033)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   auto theft, crime control programs, crime prevention, crime reduction, property crimes, stolen property, stolen vehicles

Smallest Geographic Unit:   Part 1: State, Part 2: State, Part 3: City

Geographic Coverage:   Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Las Vegas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York (state), North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Phoenix, Sacramento, Seattle, Tennessee, United States, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands of the United States, West Virginia

Time Period:  

  • 2002-10--2004-04

Date of Collection:  

  • 2002-10--2004-04

Unit of Observation:   program

Universe:   All administrators of auto theft prevention programs in all states, cities, or insular areas of the United States between October 2002 and March 2004.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

This data collection does not include data from the on-site interview conducted with the Watch Your Car program representative from Massachusetts or the telephone interview with the representative from Washington. Likewise, this data collection does not include the cost analysis data.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   The goal of the study was to research and identify trends and best practices that were geared toward motor vehicle theft prevention with a particular focus on the Watch Your Car program. The Watch Your Car program (WYC), sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), involves motor vehicle owners who voluntarily place stickers in their windshields that alert police that they can stop the car for a theft check during certain hours of the night and in certain locations.

Study Design:   The current study was a trends and best practices evaluation of motor vehicle theft prevention methods, with particular focus on the Watch Your Car program, conducted from October 2002 through March 2004. The Watch Your Car program (WYC), sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), involves motor vehicle owners who voluntarily place stickers in the windshields that alert police that they can stop the car for a theft check during certain hours of the night and in certain locations. On-site interviews were conducted with WYC administrators from Arizona, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, and Massachusetts. For the remaining WYC member states, the member survey was distributed in advance of a phone interview with instructions to review and answer the survey. During the telephone interview, the survey was reviewed and there was discussion of issues that were brought up by the respondent or by their answers to the survey questions. If the WYC administrator had not completed the survey by the time the site visit or telephone interview was conducted, they were asked to return the completed survey form as soon as possible. Follow up calls were made to the administrators of WYC programs who had not returned the survey. In order to find contact information for non-WYC states and the ten cities with the highest vehicle theft rates, relevant state or city police web sites were reviewed looking for specific information about vehicle theft prevention. If there was a phone number specifically for vehicle theft prevention, it was used. Otherwise, the main police information phone number was used. The purpose of the call was explained and contact information was collected on the person to whom the survey about vehicle theft prevention methods could sent. For nonmember states, the contact information usually led to an individual within the state police, highway patrol, or department of public safety. For the ten cities, the contact information usually led to an employee within the police department. It was thought that there may be regional difference in the way motor vehicle theft prevention was handled, and therefore seven versions of the survey for the non-WYC states were created. Likewise, three versions of the survey for the ten cities with the highest motor vehicle theft rates were created. The surveys were regionalized by asking respondents how certain aspects of their region of the country or their city might impact their approach to motor vehicle theft prevention. The groupings for the regional state surveys were based on geographic region with consideration given to the influence of such factors as proximity to international borders and ports. Except for the regionally oriented questions, the format and content of the questions within the surveys was held constant. As the site visits and interviews with the WYC member states came to a close, the regional surveys to the motor vehicle theft prevention administrators in the nonmember states and the ten cities with the highest motor vehicle theft rates were distributed. As the response rates began to slow for these two groups, electronic versions of the nonmember and city surveys were created. In an attempt to increase the response rate, these electronic forms were sent by email to those individuals and agencies who had not yet responded.

Sample:   Surveys were sent to 47 states, Washington D.C., the United States Virgin Islands, and the island of St. Croix. Three states, Idaho, Kansas, and Wisconsin were excluded because they did not deal with auto theft prevention at the state level. Watch Your Car program (WYC) members were identified through their various Web sites. Similarly, the contact person for nonmember states was identified through a search of state police Web sites. Surveys were also sent to the 10 cities cited by the National Insurance Crime Bureau as having the highest auto theft rates, with the contact person identified through a search of the city's police Web site.

Weight:   none

Mode of Data Collection:   on-site questionnaire, mail questionnaire, telephone interview

Data Source:

Data for this collection were obtained from on-site interviews, telephone interviews, and questionnaires mailed to the respondents.

Description of Variables:   Part 1, the survey for Watch Your Car (WYC) program members consisted of 48 open and closed-ended questions that were divided among five major sections including: how they learned about the WYC program, their WYC related program activities, the outcomes of their program, ways in which they might have done things differently if given the opportunity, and summary questions that asked WYC program administrators for their opinions about various aspects of the overall WYC program. The survey for the nonmember states, Part 2, and cities, Part 3, were divided into two sections. The first section collected information about motor vehicle theft prevention within the respondent's state or city. The second section addresses the respondent's knowledge of, and opinions about, the Watch Your Car program.

Response Rates:   Completed surveys were received from 11 of the 13 Watch Your Car (WYC) member states for a response rate of 85 percent. For nonmember states, 36 surveys were sent out, of which 16 were returned, for a response rate of 44 percent. For the 10 cities with the highest motor vehicle theft rates there was a response rate of 50 percent, with 5 out the 10 surveys sent out returned.

Presence of Common Scales:   none

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

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