ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – St. Charles County officials say they are making real progress reversing a big spike in car thefts and auto break-ins.

The county noticed a big increase in car cloutings around 2020. Police chiefs across the county came up with the idea of an St Charles County Auto Theft Task Force.

St. Charles County Police Chief Kurt Frisz says since forming the unit in 2021, they’ve cut thefts and vehicle break-ins nearly in half, with 70% of those arrests coming from outside the county.

According to Frisz, the auto theft task force has morphed into an effort against all types of crimes in St. Charles County. It’s now known as the St. Charles County Criminal Interdiction Task Force.

“The results have been we’ve seen a great reduction in the items stolen from vehicle break-ins, reduction in stolen vehicles in our jurisdiction in St. Charles County,” Frisz said. “We’ve taken a lot of drugs off the street. We’ve taken over 62 illegal firearms off the street. We’re making our streets safer in St Charles County.”

Some 40 officers work on the task force, which uses high-tech tools like drones, helicopters, and license plate readers. Commanders work out of the county’s Emergency Operations Center.

”We saturate the county from east to west, and the commanders stay here, and they’re watching everything live,” Frisz said. “Either live drone footage, live helicopter footage, and the cameras we have available to us, and they’re watching everything live, so they’re able to make the command decisions from here.”

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann says the prosecutor and judges are on board with the effort to bring down crime in the county.

“I hope if there’s any potential criminals listening out there, they understand that if they come to St. Charles County, we’re going to be ready for them!” he said.