DID YOU KNOW...
- Every 20 seconds a vehicle is stolen in the United States . Auto Theft is a big business! If auto theft were legalized and incorporated, it would rank 56 the among the Fortune 500 companies.
- Your vehicle is one of the largest investments you make.
- New vehicles are not the only targets for car thieves. Older model vehicles are also very desirable.
- Thieves look for vehicles that can be resold quickly or stripped for parts. A vehicle's parts are worth two to three times the value of the vehicle.
- No vehicle or anti-theft device is 100% theft-proof and discouraging thieves is not an easy task.
- The more difficult your car is to steal, the more time a thief has to spend stealing your car. Therefore, the greater the chance of detection.
- A thief's greatest enemy is time. By making your car a tougher target, the thief will probably move on to a vehicle that is easier to steal.
The Montgomery Police Department administers this program in accordance with the national WATCH YOUR CAR program guidelines.
A significant number of auto thefts are committed during the early morning hours when the owners are asleep and unaware that their vehicles have been stolen. In many instances, a stolen car can be driven to a "chop shop" or across State lines before the owner awakens to discover the theft.
If a vehicle is not stolen for the purpose of resale or disassembly for the procurement of its parts, it may be used in the commission of another crime. In any event, a thief wants to avoid being noticed and will forgo vehicles that draw the attention of law enforcement officials.
The purpose of the Watch Your Car program is to identify vehicles that are not routinely operated during the early morning hours or near international land borders or ports so that law enforcement officers can investigate auto theft before a stolen vehicle report has been filed.
We want to help reduce the incidence of vehicle theft in Montgomery by deterrence and by arrest of automobile thieves, apprehended because of the efforts of the WATCH YOUR CAR program.
HOW TO REGISTER
1. Bring your vehicle, registration, and photo ID to the Montgomery Police Department, Community Policing Division; or other announced registration sites.
You can register for the program at The Montgomery Police Department's Community Oriented Policing Division, 3046 Fairwest Place, Montgomery, AL 36108, from 0800 to 1700 hours. For citizen convenience, alternate sign up locations will regularly be set up in various communities. You may call (334) 240-4800 for more information about the program.
2. Complete a program registration and waiver form, and provide a $2.00 registration fee for each participating vehicle.
The vehicle owner wishing to participate in the "Watch Your Car" program will be required to sign a registration/waiver form consenting to the provisions of the "Watch Your Car" Program. The owner must understand the following:
- The vehicle is not normally operated between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
- The vehicle may be stopped if it is being operated by anyone during the above/specified time.
- The vehicle and ownership information will be entered into the Alabama "Watch Your Car" program database, which is available to all ACJIC capable agencies.
- It is the owner's responsibility to inform individuals operating their vehicle that the vehicle is registered with the "Watch Your Car" Program and is subject to being stopped by the police during the hours between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
- Proof of ownership will be required at the time of sign up.
3. Verify the completed information and sign the registration / waiver form.
4. Front and rear window decals will be provided, along with instructions and cancellation forms for the program.
Upon registration, the decals will be properly placed on the vehicle, according to the "WATCH YOUR CAR" program guidelines.
Windshield decal: Indicates that a law enforcement officer has authority to stop the vehicle, between the program hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. The decal contains all the legal information and notification that it is a federal offense to remove the decal without the owner's permission.
Rear window decal : "WATCH YOUR CAR" logo decal indicates to a law enforcement officer, approaching from the rear, that the vehicle is registered in the program.
Sticker Placement The front (small rectangular) decal should be placed on the front windshield, on the exterior face of glass, directly above the inside rear view mirror. The rear (round decal) should be placed on the outside lower left corner of the rear window.
FAQCan an automobile owner consent to a voluntary stop of his or her automobile through voluntary participation in the Watch Your Car program?
An automobile owner can consent to a voluntary stop of his or her automobile through participation in the program. The program is voluntary; neither states nor citizens are required to participate in the program.
Consequently, when a person submits a program application form, he or she voluntarily consents to have his or her automobile stopped during the program hours for the purpose of determining the ownership of the automobile and the identity of the driver.
What happens if a car is stopped?
The registrant is informed that law enforcement officers will take certain precautions when stopping a vehicle during the program hours or when the vehicle is near an international land border or port, because the vehicle is suspected of being stolen.
- Motorists should pull over.
- Turn off the engine.
- If the stop is being made at night, turn on interior lights
- Motorists should also keep their hands on the steering wheel so they are clearly visible to the officer.
- The officer will ask for the motorist to present his or her driver's license and the vehicle's registration to verify that the driver is the legitimate owner of the vehicle.
Can an officer initiate a sobriety test if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the operator is driving under the influence of alcohol?
The decal provides the authority for an officer to stop an automobile displaying the decal during the program hours. As mentioned earlier, if an officer stops an automobile displaying the Watch Your Car decal, the officer would have the same authority to enforce the law he or she would have when stopping an automobile for any other reason.
Therefore, the administration of a breathalyzer test pursuant to an Watch Your Car stop would be permitted, provided there was probable cause to administer such test.
How would a car owner withdraw from the "Watch Your Car" Program?
To withdraw from the program, the owner must report to the Montgomery Police Department Community Policing Division (3046 Fairwest Place) so that a Cancellation form may be completed, and then completely remove the decals and/or stickers from the car. The owner must also do this when selling the car or transferring ownership.