The LAPD will beef up its efforts to fight car theft under a plan approved Wednesday by the City Council, which unanimously approved funding for two additional detectives. Southern California motorists may be familiar with the Task Force for Regional Auto-Theft Prevention because of its work with auto dealers in trying to head off car thefts. However, the joint operation with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Police Department and other local agencies also focuses on enforcement, going after thieves, organized crime rings, scam artists and “chop shop” operators who strip cars and sell them for parts. “It’s targeted at the professional crook,” said Capt. Michael Chambers, commander of the LAPD’s Commercial Crimes Division. Dan Laidman, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals The council’s action brings the LAPD’s contribution to the task force up to 18 sworn positions. The total cost is about $2.6 million, funds for which the city is reimbursed. The task force is paid for through a state program that deducts money from vehicle registration fees to fund initiatives that fight car thefts. Auto thefts in Los Angeles are down 7 percent this year, according to LAPD statistics, and 17 percent from two years ago. The work of the task force is likely responsible for some of that, Chambers said, along with the overall crime-fighting efforts at the LAPD like the Compstat tracking system. “There’s fewer cars being stolen and we’re making more arrests of the criminals,” he said. While break-out figures for auto crimes were not available, the LAPD reports a 1.5 percent increase in arrests so far this year over the same period in 2004, and a 9.1 percent increase over the same period in 2003.