NEW IPO Logo - by Charles Larry Home Search Browse About IPO Staff Links

George H. Ryan


"BAT" Program Seeks
To Beat Auto Theft


Beat Auto Theft

Illinois motorists who do not normally drive between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. can now participate in a program to help keep their vehicles from being stolen. A special Beat Auto Theft (BAT) decal, available for $5 from Secretary of State Police, can be displayed in the rear window to give police officers permission to stop and determine ownership of the vehicle during those hours.

BAT is modeled after several programs enacted around the country in recent years. Here's how it works:

  1. Vehicle owners who want to participate must complete and sign a BAT registration form. To obtain a form, call the Secretary of State Police toll free 1-800- 608-0561. Once completed, the forms must be returned to Springfield so the information can be entered into the Secretary of State's computer system.
  2. Registration and decal cost $5 per automobile. This is a one-time fee, for as long as you own the car. The fee helps fund the BAT program and makes it self-sufficient.
  3. When the reflective BAT decal is received, place it in the lower corner of the rear window on the driver's side.

A vehicle displaying the BAT decal and being operated between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. may be stopped by any law enforcement officer in Illinois. The officer will ask the driver to produce a valid driver's license and motor vehicle registration card. If the driver cannot produce these documents, the officer will investigate further to determine if the person is in fact the registered owner or has the owner's permission to operate the vehicle. Following are some frequently asked questions about the program.

What if I want to register more than one car?
Each vehicle requires a separate registration form and $5 fee, and receives its own decal and identification number.

What if a friend borrows the car?
You must alert them that the vehicle might be stopped if driven between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

What if I need to use the car during those hours and am stopped?
You will be asked to produce a valid driver's license and an auto registration card to verify ownership.

How do I withdraw from the BAT program?
Simply send a completed BAT cancellation form and completely remove the BAT decal. You also must do this when you sell your car or transfer ownership.

Is the BAT program successful?
Although new in Illinois, BAT-type programs have had an impact in New York, Texas, Virginia and many, other states. A program also is working in Canada. For example:

A report from 75 New York City police precincts showed in 1991 that of the 77,434 vehicles enrolled in their Combat Auto Theft (CAT) program, only 181 had been stolen. Of those, 26 were recovered and resulted in 10 arrests.

October 1995 / Illinois Municipal Review / Page 19

In 1990, Dallas reported 24,598 auto thefts. One hundred of those were registered with the Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program. Ninety were recovered and 11 arrest were made.

Is BAT the best auto-theft prevention program?
BAT can have an impact, but it is just one way to reduce the chances of a car being stolen. We also urge you to use anti-theft devices, park in safe and secure areas and lock your car.

Legislation creating the BAT program passed the General Assembly in 1993 and became effective in 1994. We are now implementing the program with a $200,000 grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. The Illinois Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Council is helping administer the program.

Auto theft is the #4 property crime in the nation. The value of all stolen vehicles was nearly $7.5 billion in 1993.

Illinois ranked fifth in the nation for its motor vehicle theft rate that year. However, this state is making headway. In 1993, approximately 65,000 auto thefts occurred in Illinois, a 6 percent decline from the previous year.

Anyone who wants a form or has any questions may call the toll-free phone line or write to the Beat Auto Theft Program, Secretary of State's office, Department of Police, 324 W. Monroe St., Springfield, IL 62756.

G. "Joe" Serangeli
Re-Appointed Liaison
To Municipal Government

I am pleased to announce that G. "Joe" Serangeli, Mayor of Eureka and former director of my Human Services Department, is continuing to serve the Secretary of State's office as my liaison to municipal governments.

Serangeli already has shared his wealth of knowledge and experience with many local officials. He has expanded the reach of the Secretary of State's office by simply making people and local officials aware of what services the office can provide. For example, his department developed a viable interface with more than 16 regional municipal associations. He provided informational programs about the grant process for local libraries, formation of limited liability companies and securities fraud and telemarketing.

Serangeli is in his fifth term as Mayor of Eureka. He serves as chairman of the Woodford County Mayors Association and secretary/treasurer of the Tri-County Mayors Association in Central Illinois. He is a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and is active with Air Force retirees in five states as a member of the USAF Retirees Council.

I hope municipal officials will continue to keep us abreast of the needs of municipal governments. We are eager to continue our strong partnership with all who serve at the municipal level ... for that is when the needs of our citizens are best met.

Page 20 / Illinois Municipal Review / October 1995

|Home| |Search| |Back to Periodicals Available| |Table of Contents| |Back to Illinois Municipal Review 1995|
Illinois Periodicals Online (IPO) is a digital imaging project at the Northern Illinois University Libraries funded by the Illinois State Library