IN YOUR Feb. 26 editorial "Radio-free Parris," you have some misconceptions concerning the mission of the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council and our plan to reduce vehicle theft in Maryland, whatever it takes.
If this means recruiting the governor to be our lead spokesman, so be it. After all, he is the leader of the state, and we were honored that he would take the time to assist us.
An independent evaluation of the council's program was conducted in 1996 by the Schaefer Center for Public Policy at the University of Baltimore.
This evaluation commended the council's "public awareness approach" as having "the biggest bang for the buck."
A scientifically conducted random survey performed in 1996 by Mason/Dixon Market Research indicated that:
Seventy-four percent of those surveyed were aware of the council's programs through radio public service announcements, newspaper articles or community events.
Forty-four percent of those surveyed indicated they had taken action to prevent vehicle theft because of this exposure.
With an error margin of plus or minus five percentage points, this research suggests that approximately 3 million people were exposed to the council's public awareness campaigns and approximately 1.4 million took steps to prevent vehicle theft as a result of our efforts.
In 1994, nearly 40,000 people were victimized by motor vehicle theft, compared with about 23,000 for the first nine months of last year.
We think prevention and education work.
Since the council's inception in 1994, the motor vehicle theft rate has declined 20 percent for the state.
In other words, people are changing their behavior in response to radio ads and other means.
W. Ray Presley
The writer is executive director of the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council.
Pub Date: 3/12/98