Street Crimes Unit returns to the Magic City - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Street Crimes Unit returns to the Magic City

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There is a new program within the Billings Police Department. The Street Crimes Unit aims to tackle car theft and burglary problems in Billings.

"These two guys were walking up to the bar and I stopped them and I asked them 'Do you see a Cadillac CTS anywhere around me?' said Laura Kaler. I knew where I parked it. I knew exactly where it was at and one of the guys said 'No I don't.' And I immediately thought 'This is a disaster.' "

Laura Kaler is among the hundreds of victims in Billings whose car was stolen. According to the City of Billings website, nearly 800 vehicles were reported stolen in 2015. Approximately 820 in 2016.

Because of the prevalence of vehicle thefts, the Street Crimes Unit, first utilized in the 90's, is back in action. Lt. Neil Lawrence said 5 police officers are now able to go undercover to tackle big problems in the Magic City.

"Last year, we had a rash of stolen vehicles," Lt. Lawrence said. "Car break-ins are obviously a big thing and burglaries are obviously a big thing as well. So those detectives are going to concentrate their efforts on those types of crimes."

The purpose for the Street Crimes Unit is to help the community feel safer and to prevent what happened to Laura Kaler, from happening to you.
Lt. Lawrence said undercover agents will be able to work day and night to catch criminals.

"Catching these guys," Lt. Lawrence said. "There are criminals who are out there stealing their vehicles, breaking into their homes, committing a lot of thefts and the burglaries in our community. One of the goals is to end that."

"I think it's amazing that we're stepping up our game when it comes to crime stopping," Kaler said.

This new program in the Magic City may be the key to decreasing auto thefts and these undercover agents could very well be a blessing in disguise. Lieutenant Lawrence also said the new program will be more successful than ever before due to advanced technology.

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