City of McAllen adds members to Brownsville's auto theft task force

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More than $890,000 has been awarded to the city of Brownsville as a means to continue the curb of vehicle thefts within the Valley. It’s an effort that neighboring cities are also working to help out with, including the city of McAllen.

Funding for this movement comes from the Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority, an organization that’s a part of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Although it’s been happening for some time, the hope is that it will continue to lower the number of vehicles thefts throughout the area.

By the numbers, auto theft is not the McAllen Police Department’s biggest problem. But on Monday, members of McAllen city commission voted to approve an inter-local agreement with the city of Brownsville that’s been happening for years.

“Auto theft was a major, major problem in the state back then,” said McAllen police Chief Victor Rodriguez. “That's what gave rise to this. We have (not only) been able to successfully combat auto theft throughout the state, but particularly in South Texas.”

The city of Brownsville was one of 24 recipients across the state this year to receive funding from the DMV’s Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority, with money for the program coming from a $4 fee when paying for car insurance.

Chief Rodriguez was once chief of police in Brownsville. He was also the board chair of the Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority when it was first established. Rodriguez says he can recall one year in the mid ‘90s when the city of McAllen had around 2,100 stolen vehicles, but decades later in 2020, that number was 49.

While numbers of the past year paint a positive message when it comes to auto theft, the city of McAllen is continuing that agreement, adding six members to Brownsville’s South Texas Auto Theft Enforcement Task Force.

The other entities that are also part of this operation includes the city of Pharr and Edinburg.

The expectation is that this grant will help the program continue to better cover both Hidalgo and Cameron counties.


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