Car Crimes Are on ACE Units Radar

Car Crimes Are on ACE Units Radar

Useful in Mount Vernon for carjacking and auto thefts.

The ACE units are active around Fairfax County.

The ACE units are active around Fairfax County.

The Fairfax County Police Department is taking another step to get tough on car theft with the Auto Crimes Enforcement Unit  known as “ACE.”

The unit specializes in investigating and thwarting auto theft organizations, street level auto thefts, and other vehicle-related crimes, police said. 

In Mount Vernon, the ACE team has made 47 arrests since the unit’s formation in April 2022. “Their main job is stolen vehicles,” said FCPD spokesperson Sgt. Epperson.

Incidents involving stolen cars often correlate with serious crimes, as is revealed in their statistics. Countywide, the ACE unit has recovered 245 stolen cars, 33 firearms, 35 stolen license plates, issued 544 felony charges and 153 misdemeanor charges.

The ACE unit is staffed by two supervisors and six detectives, who use many high tech tools when dealing with stolen cars. This includes state-of-the-art license plate readers, and partnerships with local car dealerships, police said. In Mount Vernon, there are a number of car dealerships along Richmond Highway who can directly contact the ACE detectives. 

The FCPD uses this preemptive and technology-driven strategy to stay on top of the vehicle-related crimes while emphasizing invaluable community connections, police said.

Auto thefts are up nationwide, said Ragina C. Ali, manager, Public & Government Affairs at AAA. She cites the National Insurance Crime Bureau report that nearly 500,000 vehicles were reported stolen nationwide in the first half of 2023, marking an increase of more than two percent compared to the first half of 2022.

AAA offers the following prevention tips:

* Park in a garage if possible or in a well-lit area.

* Lock the doors and close the windows.

* Remove spare keys from inside the vehicle.

* Don’t leave valuables and other items in plain view.

* Utilize audible and/or visible devices, such as alarms, steering column or steering wheel locks, brake or wheel locks.

* Consider a vehicle immobilizer, such as a “kill switch” or starter or fuel pump disablers

* Install a tracking system.