SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The problem of stolen cars in New Mexico is so out of control, one lawmaker is calling it a “state of emergency” and he has a plan to tackle it.
Rep. Bill Rehm is a retired auto theft detective with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, and as everyone knows, it’s the Albuquerque area with the highest rate of stolen cars in the state and the country.
Rep. Rehm is sponsoring House Bill 173. His idea is to create an auto theft authority in New Mexico that consists of law enforcement and insurance agencies.
Those two groups would work together and through funding by the legislature, would provide grant money to police and sheriff’s departments to crack down on auto theft.
The grant money would be directed toward targeted approaches, like bait cars or other operations with the goal of arresting car thieves.
“This way they can dedicate a united front against auto theft,” Rehm said.
He says this is something other states already do, and that his bill is modeled after Colorado’s auto theft authority.
There’s no price tag yet on this idea.
A similar bill failed last year, but Rehm believes with Albuquerque now number one in the nation for auto theft, fellow lawmakers will see the urgency in passing this legislation this time around.
The bill was in the House Judiciary Committee on Monday afternoon where it passed unanimously.