Thursday, July 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Solano boosts auto theft law enforcement fee

By
From page A1 | June 12, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — Solano County residents will pay a little more when they register their vehicles starting in January 2015 to raise more money for county auto theft law enforcement efforts.

The county Board of Supervisors made the decision Tuesday by a 5-0 vote. They raised a local fee to fight auto theft from $1 to $2 for most autos and from $2 to $4 for commercial vehicles. The fees are paid along with registration or renewal.

Sheriff Tom Ferrara talked of going after chop shops and stopping thefts from auto dealerships.

“I think my focus will be on really going after the big guys,” Ferrara said.

The existing fees raise $331,500 annually, with $162,500 going to the Sheriff’s Office for enforcement and $162,500 to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecutions. The fee increases approved Tuesday will boost the annual income to $663,000, a county report said.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau ranked Vallejo-Fairfield as eighth in the nation for auto thefts among metropolitan areas for 2012.

Supervisor Jim Spering noted the high number of auto thefts in Fairfield and Vallejo. He asked that some of the new money go toward prevention. Land use and code enforcement can be some of the tools, he said.

“We just shouldn’t assume we’re going to be the car theft capital forever,” Spering said. “We should try to change the trend.”

Fairfield City Councilwoman Pam Bertani is running against Spering in November for the 3rd District seat. She stepped to the microphone during public comments to support the fee increases.

Fairfield has seen auto theft numbers rise from 347 in 2011 to 497 in 2012 to 629 in 2013, she said. She’s talked to residents in neighborhoods ranging from Woodcreek to Rolling Hills to Parkway Gardens about the problem, she said.

“It’s scary and it wreaks havoc on families,” Bertani said.

His office prosecutes 280 to 350 auto theft cases annually, District Attorney Don du Bain said. He didn’t know how many auto theft cases result in convictions. Some of the cases are dismissed in exchange to pleas for other felonies, he said.

Supervisor Erin Hannigan wants more detailed information gathered in the future.

“I think it’s kind of important to say, if we’re putting money into this process, that we’re also reaping some benefits and we’re seeing what these results are and we can follow the trend,” she said.

County Principal Management Analyst Ian Goldberg said the expanded auto theft law enforcement program will have an expanded tracking system, as well.

Supervisor Skip Thomson proposed the fee increases at previous Board of Supervisor meetings. Ninety-three percent of vehicles stolen in the county get recovered, but arrests and prosecutions are far fewer, he said.

“We’re not doing a very good job doing the investigation and arresting the bad guy,” Thomson said at the June 3 meeting.

But the Board of Supervisors at that June 3 meeting deadlocked 2-2 on fee increases, with Supervisor John Vasquez absent. All four supervisors supported increasing the fees, but disagreed over how the additional revenue should be split between the Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office.

The board decided Tuesday that 100 percent would go the Sheriff’s Office the first year to ramp up the improved program, with 25 percent going to the District Attorney’s Office in subsequent years. The board will review the program annually and could adjust these figures.

“How come you guys couldn’t solve it last week?” Vasquez said after the vote.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or beberling@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 15 comments

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  • Tax PayerJune 12, 2014 - 5:34 am

    BS, another tax on law abiding citizens. The Governor and the courts are letting them out in record numbers. This tax will do nothing to stem the tide of stolen vehicles. Only another tax to continue to push law abiding citizens and businesses out of California.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • BobJune 12, 2014 - 7:22 am

    Ok I read the article and I see the part about chop shops but I don't remember seeing any past news articles about busting chop shops here, might be a bad memory on my side. This is just another tax not a fee, if this is really for stolen cars it should be kept in a separate fund and watched because these politicians will suck that fund dry for something else and never mention it, maybe for a train station we don't need, this has got to be the dumbest county around, isn't that right Jim we let you get away with murder

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • VinnyJune 12, 2014 - 8:18 am

    Why not just tax the Chop Shops, and car thieves? Why does everybody else have to pay for their crimes?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJune 12, 2014 - 8:25 am

    I don't recall seeing anything in terms of SO results on anything let along car thefts to justify this tax?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Bill GordonJune 12, 2014 - 9:06 am

    His office prosecutes 280 to 350 auto theft cases annually, District Attorney Don du Bain said. He didn’t know how many auto theft cases result in convictions. Some of the cases are dismissed in exchange to pleas for other felonies, he said. Supervisor Erin Hannigan wants more detailed information gathered in the future. “I think it’s kind of important to say, if we’re putting money into this process, that we’re also reaping some benefits and we’re seeing what these results are and we can follow the trend,” she said. Just remember Ms. Hannigan and her father were both listed as supporters of this lame duck DA. How could he not know what the number of auto theft cases are received from local agencies, filed by his office and disposed of by dismissal, plea or otherwise. How embarrassing.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • BSJune 12, 2014 - 9:20 am

    The DAs office has an auto theft task force made up of retired cops. So I'm sure you can imagine how aggressive they are. Most auto thefts in Solano County are prosecuted as misdemeanors. All you have to do is check the FBI statistical reports. Are they planning on using Bait cars, the CHP, what? How will increasing fees stop auto thefts. Maybe give tax breaks for those who install alarms in their cars and reward tax payers for trying to do the right thing and help prevent crime. Lets put a stop to this. Write your legislators.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • 2realJune 12, 2014 - 10:50 am

    Is there anything else i can do for you uncle sam?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • SamJune 12, 2014 - 1:06 pm

    2real, I will follow everyone else’s lead and tell you you’re full of it. Stop being a punk. Stop being a coward and use your name. Stop tithing to some alleged dead guy you believe is saving us and pay me the 20%. BTW, CD’s “given” name is mad dog…

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJune 12, 2014 - 3:12 pm

    Wow Sam, I haven’t heard that in a long time! Do I know you?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • SamJune 12, 2014 - 4:49 pm

    CD no I just remember you mentioning that name a couple of years ago. Tired of that 2-bit 2real crap. 2real you doing anything later?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksJune 12, 2014 - 4:51 pm

    Sam, okay cool. Great memory!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • FF64June 12, 2014 - 1:16 pm

    Shortly after assuming office, Don DuBain laid off the "Auto Theft Task Force" investigators, who were paid for by a grant. Sheriff Stanton picked up the grant and hired Investigators to staff it. I don't know if they hired the same ones or not.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Dexter FowlerJune 12, 2014 - 1:28 pm

    So waht exactly did the measure P tax increase the sheeple voted for go to? I thought it was to bolster our law enforcement. Or does everything now have to be a tax or fee increase for a specific crime? Thank God we voted out the clown Du Bain how can he not know the conviction rate? He couldnt do a little homework? Or is he too busy wiping away his loser tears?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JimboJune 12, 2014 - 6:32 pm

    The police must be ONLY interested in going after the 'big guys' since my neighbor had a car stolen and they took very little interest beyond acting bothered to come take a report.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • HuckleberryJune 12, 2014 - 11:09 pm

    My neighbor had his truck stolen. He drove around for a week and found his truck in his same neighborhood up on blocks at a house. The cops were called, the drug dealer, said he had bought the truck from someone else and no chargers were filed per Fairfield Police. My neighbor is moving. He said he has had enough of Fairfield. His girlfriends car was stolen two days after his truck and they found her car in Placerville. Her gas gauge was not working and they ran out of gas. Why did none of you show up at the meeting. Venting on this site does nothing. I know the guys name but would probably get in trouble or sued.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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