Several years ago, the city of Everett addressed its rampant auto theft problem by working to enhance penalties for committing these crimes. Car thefts declined, but the residual effect was a drastic increase in vehicle prowls.
Everett is not alone as cities throughout the state have had to contend with an increase in vehicle prowlers. Senate Bill 5154, sponsored by Sen. Nick Harper (D-Everett) with bipartisan support, passed the senate unanimously Tuesday with the promise of helping combat the problem.
This bill will change the penalty for car prowling from a gross misdemeanor to a Class C felony when a person is convicted of vehicle prowling for a third time and any subsequent time after that.
“People know that if they steal a car they’re going to pay for it,” Harper said. “The unintended effect was that the city of Everett saw a dramatic uptick in car prowls. This bill will stiffen the penalty for car prowlers and I believe have the same effect that previous legislation had in the reduction of car thefts.”