Public Safety

Watch Your Car Program

If you don't normally use your vehicle between the hours of 1:00 A.M. and 5:00 A.M., this program is for you.

Watch Your Car is a national auto theft prevention program.  It is a voluntary vehicle registration program designed to deter auto theft and assist in the apprehension of auto thieves.

What is the Purpose of the Watch Your Car Program?
A signifigant number of auto thefts are committed during the early morning hours when the owners are asleep and unaware that their vehicles have been stolen.  In many instances, a stolen car can be driven to a "chop shop", or across state lines, before the owner awakens to discover the theft.  If a vehicle is not stolen for the purpose of resale or disassembled for the use of parts, it may be used in commision of another crime.  In any event, a thief wants to avoid being noticed and will stay away from a vehicle that draws the attention of law enforcement officials.  The purpose of the Watch Your Car Program is to identify vehicles that are not routinely operated during the early morning hours so that law enforcement officers can investigate auto theft as quickly as possible.

Auto Theft Facts:

  • A vehicle is stolen every 20 seconds in the United States
  • Auto theft is the #1 property crime in the United States
  • 15,687 vehicles were stolen in Colorado in 1998
  • It can take an expert auto thief as little as seven seconds and one screwdriver to break into a vehicle and less than one minute to drive away

How does the program work?
Motor vehicle owners sign a consent form and obtain the program decals.  The consent form authorizes law enforcement officers to stop the vehicle if it is being driven during program hours (1 A.M. to 5 A.M.) and take reasonable steps to determine whe ther the vehicle is being operated with the owner's consent.

If a police officer observes the vehicle being operated on a public road anywhere in the United States during these hours, they may stop the vehicle and verify if it is being operated by the vehicle owner or a person designated by the owner.

How much does it cost to join the program?
Absolutely nothing.  The program is free.

Does registration of my vehicle(s) in the program allow police officers to search my vehicle?
No.  Watch Your Car is a voluntary program designed to deter auto theft.  Your consent to have your vehicle stopped during the program hours is for the purpose of determining the ownership of the automobile and the identity of the driver.  An officer, however, already possesses the authority to stop persons he or she reasonably suspects has violated a traffic law or for any other reason.  The decal need not be displayed on a vehicle for the officer to enforce traffic regulations .  If a person whose car displays a program decal violates the law, he or she is just as subject to being stopped and fined in the same manner as persons who do not display program decals on their automobiles.

What happens if my car is stopped?
An officer will ask to see driver's license and vehicle registration to verify that the driver is the legitimate owner of the vehicle.  If the driver of the vehicle is not the vehicle owner, the officer will place a call to the UCCS Police Department , Central Communication System, to determine whether the driver is a designated driver (selected by the vehicle owner at the time of registration) or if the driver has permission to operate the vehicle.  If the owner cannot be reached, the officer will allow the driver to leave.  However, if the owner can be reached and verified that the driver does not have permission to drive the vehicle, the officer then has reason to believe the vehicle is stolen and will act accordingly.

What should I do if my car is missing?
Your car may already have been stopped during the program hours.  If missing from campus, call UCCS PD at (719)255-3111.  If missing from off campus, contact your local police agency.  The registered owner of the vehicle should be the one to make the call.  Report the theft to your insurance company as well.

If my vehicle is recovered, when can I pick it up?
We will try to reach the owner.  If the owner cannot be reached to pick up the vehicle in a reasonable amount of time, the car will be towed to a local garage for storage.  The owner will be notified by mail and is liable for storage and towing fees.

Can multiple vehicles be registered by filling out one form?
Each vehicle requires a seperate registration form and decals.

How long does registration last?
The program will continue from year to year, and will end after a four (4) year period.  Vehicle owners registered with the Watch your Car Program must renew their registration at that time, as their vehicle(s) will be automatically removed. 

What if I sell my vehicle or no longer want to participate in the program?
If ownership of the vehicle is transferred, you must remove all Watch Your Car decals and notify in writing to:

University of Colorado Colorado Springs Police Department
Crime Prevention Unit
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918

A vehicle owner registered with the Watch Your Car Program who has removed their decal(s) but has not notified the registering law enforcement agency in writing to remove vehicle(s) from the program, is subject to being stopped according to the Watch Your Car Program provisions.

How can I register in the Watch Your Car Program
An owner of a vehicle(s) who wishes to register their vehicle(s) in the Watch Your Car Program can contact the UCCS PD at (719)255-5917

Last updated September 26, 2012