Commissioner Donelon Announces Another Successful Year For LATIFPA Auto Theft Awareness Education Program

June 17, 2010

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is pleased to announce another successful year for the Louisiana Automobile Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority (LATIFPA) auto theft awareness education program. LATIFPA recently completed its 2009/2010 school year auto theft awareness education program designed to educate middle and high school students in Louisiana schools about the consequences of auto theft and how to avoid becoming a victim of vehicle theft by parking smart. The program is sponsored by LATIFPA, a division within the Department of Insurance.

The program was conducted during this school year, through a one and a half hour school curriculum, in 23 different schools throughout six parishes in Louisiana. The program is being made available to schools in areas where there are high rates of juvenile auto theft and auto-related criminal activities and is presented by the LATIFPA staff in partnership with local law enforcement and school officials. LATIFPA staff estimated that approximately 5,000 students participated in the program in the 2009/2010 school year. Since the inception of this program, over forty-four schools and over 17,000 students have participated in this important education initiative. This program which is offered free of charge to all school districts in Louisiana is conducted by LATIFPA staff.

“Research indicates that auto theft is a gateway crime that potentially leads adolescents to more destructive behavior,” said Commissioner Donelon. “This program explores the relationship among the parties involved when a juvenile commits auto theft and the impact that theft has on a juvenile’s family, the victim or family of the victim, and the long-term effect the offence has on the community where the juvenile offender lives.” The program also encourages good driving habits and educates young drivers on how to prevent auto theft.

School officials interested in learning more about the program, should contact Denise Cassano, LATIFPA Director, at (225) 342-0819 or Kevin Smith, LATIFPA Assistant Director, at (225) 219-0452. This program is available during the summer months for school or other education organizations in Louisiana. For information about the Louisiana Department of Insurance, please call 1-800-259-5300 or visit the department’s website at www.ldi.state.la.us .

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