belt 032723EAST ST. LOUIS – State Senator Christopher Belt announced that the Illinois Secretary of State has awarded nearly $2.5 million to the Metro East Auto Theft Task Force to combat carjacking and vehicle thefts in the area.

“Carjacking and vehicle thefts are serious crimes that threaten the safety and well-being of our community,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “I am grateful to the Secretary of State’s office for recognizing the importance of this issue and for providing crucial support to help prevent this issue.”

The funding originates from the Illinois Vehicle Hijacking and Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention and Insurance Verification Council, which is overseen by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State’s office convenes regular meetings of council members and awards funding to assist law enforcement entities to combat carjacking and prevent motor vehicle thefts.

The Metro East Auto Theft Task Force is a collaborative effort between law enforcement agencies in the Metro East region and is designed to investigate and prevent auto thefts, carjacking and related crimes. In the comings weeks, the task force will see a total of $2,456,527 to help with their efforts.

“There is no single solution, but these grants give law enforcement needed financial resources, which will provide a greater sense of focus and effort to recover stolen vehicles and prevent carjackings that have been occurring all too frequently throughout our state,” said Illinois Secretary of State, Alexi Giannoulias. “People doing something so routine as getting in their car and driving shouldn’t have to fear that they’ll be robbed of their vehicle at gunpoint. Working together, we will continue to not only make our roads safer but also our communities, neighborhoods and business districts.”

To learn more about carjacking and auto thefts in the state and for more information about the grant, click here.