Measure Proposes Combating Carjacking in Illinois with a Tracking Hotline Mandate (Springfield, IL) (via The Center Square) — Car manufacturers will be required to set up a 24-hour hotline to help law enforcement track stolen cars after a bill passed both the Illinois House and Senate. Many advocates say this will help reduce the numbers of car theft.
The measure, House Bill 2245, passed unanimously in both chambers. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk for his signature. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart helped craft the language in the bill.
“It’s a real game changer,” Dart told The Center Square.
The next step is making auto manufacturers’ compliance a national requirement, Dart said.
“To make this work completely, we need a national solution,” he said.
Cook County had more than 2,060 carjackings in the past 12 months, more than any other major city. Thanks to a combined effort in the last year and a half, with Chicago police, the Illinois State Police, the Cook County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI working together, the number of carjackings is down by 25%.
“We’re never going to stop carjacking altogether, but I guarantee you, with tracking happening quickly, it’s going to drive these numbers down dramatically,” Dart said.
A 24-hour hotline will give deputies the ability to get tracking information in real-time. With carmakers’ cooperation, law enforcement can find a carjacked car in as little as 15 minutes.
“Virtually every car from 2015 on has tracking capacity,” Dart said.
The problem is that some car manufacturers make it tough to start the tracking process.
“The OnStar folks with GM are phenomenal. They are right on it right away. And we get more of their cars back,” Dart said.
Other companies give deputies a litany of excuses or help is only available during business hours, he said. Some carmakers mistakenly believe that they need a search warrant. Dart, a former prosecutor, said emphatically that “you don’t need a search warrant.”
Others refer deputies to their legal departments.
“They’d transfer us to their legal department and a lot of times we’d get a voicemail because it was after 5 o’clock,” Dart said.
The one thing that would be required before the tracking process can get started is the authorization of the vehicle’s owner.
“The owners are standing right there with us to consent to the tracking,” Dart said.
Dart’s office has developed a consent-to-track form to simplify the process.
Measure Proposes Combating Carjacking in Illinois with a Tracking Hotline Mandate