Front Range police departments have received $2 million in grants from the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority to help catch car thieves.

Eight awards were given to seven multi-jurisdictional auto theft task forces made up of 34 law enforcement agencies.

“The bad economy threatens to increase Colorado’s auto theft problem at a time when local law enforcement has been forced to slash budgets for auto theft investigators and resources,” said association president Matt Cook. “Auto theft is a moving target, so these funds support multi-jurisdictional auto theft task forces that pool resources and effectively crack down on auto theft beyond city and county borders.”

The Southern Colorado Reduce Auto Theft Task Force is made up of Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Pueblo County, Fountain, Monument, El Paso County and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The grant for those agencies will purchase six license plate readers and pay for overtime associated with joint task force operations: surveillance, inspections at auto shops and scrap yards, prevention and educational efforts.