AURORA | An Aurora lawmaker and city staffers will hand out gear Aug. 27 to mitigate the impacts of car theft, along with gun locks, drug disposal bags and other safety items.
Councilmember Juan Marcano said the “family safety check” events are specifically being held in parts of the city that are hardest hit by motor vehicle theft — this time, in west Aurora at the McDonald’s at 12900 E. Mississippi Ave.
“This way, people will be able to protect themselves so they don’t become victims,” Marcano said.
The giveaway comes as the city grapples with a rise in motor vehicle thefts — more than 4,200 vehicles have been reported stolen this year, according to Aurora police.
Aurora’s City Council has made addressing motor vehicle thefts a top priority, possibly becoming the first city to introduce mandatory minimum sentences for car thieves in city court this year. Marcano voted against the change, questioning whether it would be effective at deterring thefts.
Marcano said the family safety check is being funded using a police budget surplus caused by understaffing. In monthly updates to the City Council’s public safety committee, police have reported shortages of between 25 and 40 sworn officers out of a budgeted force of 744 this year.
Items that will be distributed on the 27th while supplies last include steering wheel locks, which prevent a car from being driven properly unless the device is removed; catalytic converter tags, which make converters harder to sell illegitimately and less attractive to thieves; prescription drug disposal bags and firearm locks.
Marcano said there may also be food at the event. The event, which is the sixth family safety check that Marcano has organized with the city’s help this year, will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“I think our last was our best attended by far,” he said. “My goal is to produce good results here and make it a permanent fixture for the department.”