Motor Vehicle Theft Protection Act Program

The Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act of 1994 (MVTPA) authorizes the Attorney General to develop, in cooperation with the States, a national voluntary motor vehicle theft prevention program.

The national "Watch Your Car" program is designed as a cooperative initiative between
the States, local governments, and the U.S.

Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).

It allows owners of motor vehicles to voluntarily display a decal or device on their vehicles to alert police that their vehicle is not normally driven between the hours of 1:00 a.m.

and 5:00 a.m.

Motorists may also choose to display another decal or device to signify their vehicle is not normally driven across or in the proximity of international land borders or ports.
Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

During fiscal year 1998, awards were made to Alabama, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina and the Virgin Islands.

During fiscal year 1999, awards were made to Colorado, Delaware, Tennessee, and the State of Washington.

In Fiscal Year 2000, funds were provided to Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Tennessee, Utah, Virgin Islands, Washington, DC, and Washington.

Agency - Department of Justice

The Department of Justice enforces the law and defends the interest of the United States, ensuring public safety against threats foreign and domestic; providing Federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; seeking just punishment for those guilty of unlawful pursuits; and ensuring fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.

Office - The Department of Justice Response Center.

Telephone: (800) 421-6770 or (202) 307-1480.
Website Address

Program Accomplishments

16 States were implementing the program. BJA held a conference for grantees on auto theft prevention.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Federal grant funds may be used for the printing or purchase and distribution of decals, registration and consent forms, public information materials and awareness campaigns, auto glass etching, training programs for law enforcement personnel, registration campaigns, equipment such as audio/visual aids and exhibits, administrative costs, upgrading of computer databases, additional personnel, travel expenses, and overtime for Watch Your Car activities.

No funds shall be used for land acquisition nor may funds be used to supplant State or local funds that would otherwise be made available for such purposes.

There is no matching requirement.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

A State may apply on behalf of itself and its respective units of local government.

If a State's chief motor vehicle theft prevention activities are currently administered by a local agency rather than a State agency, then the local agency may apply on behalf of itself and the other local jurisdictions.

Applications are submitted by the point of contact of the State or unit of local government, in writing, and in accordance with established BJA application guidelines.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Eligible beneficiaries include State agencies, county and municipal police departments, crime prevention organizations, and the general public.


Applicants should submit the original copy of the Standard Form 424, signed by the project point of contact to the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, 810 Seventh Street, NW., Washington, DC 20531. Applicants should submit a complete line item budget and accompanying detailed budget narrative that explains all costs for which Watch Your Car funding is requested and provides sufficient information to document how costs were derived. Finally, applicants should develop an implementation plan to identify the steps they will take to implement the program along with a schedule for the completion of each step.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Presently, no program notices will be announced, nor will any awards be made until a programmatic assessment is completed by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).

Applicants also may contact the Department of Justice Response Center in Washington, DC.

Telephone: (800) 421-6770 or (202) 307-1480 to obtain a copy.

The standard application form as furnished by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), in accordance with 28, CFR Part 66 (Common Rule), must be used for this program.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

Application guidelines and forms are available by contacting the Department of Justice Response Center as noted above. This application procedure has been on hold since February 2002.

Award Procedures

An award must be accepted by the applicant agency or institution according to the special conditions of the grant.


Contact the Department of Justice Response Center for application deadlines. Both the program announcement published in the Federal Register along with the Bureau of Justice Assistance motor vehicle theft prevention program announcement will note the application deadline.


Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Title XXII, Public Law 103-322, 42 U.S.C 14171 et. seq.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately 60 days.


Determined by the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance.


Awards will be for periods of up to 24 months.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Grants will be made for amounts up to 100 percent of the costs of the program or projects contained in the approved application. There is no cash match required of grant recipients.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Varies, generally one fiscal year.

Post Assistance Requirements


"Fiscal Reports", which consist of quarterly budget expenditure reports and "Progress Reports" which consist of semi-annual program progress reports and final financial and progress reports.


All organizations that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in any fiscal year must have a single audit for that year in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-133, as amended, unless the audit condition on the award says otherwise. These audits are due to the cognizant Federal agency not later than 9 months after the end of the grantee's fiscal year.


All grantees are required to establish and maintain accounting systems and financial records in order to account for funds awarded to them.

Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 06 $ estimate not available; FY 07 $ estimate not available; and FY 08 estimate not available.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance


Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Office of Justice Programs Financial Guide.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

The Department of Justice Response Center. Telephone: (800) 421-6770 or (202) 307-1480.

Headquarters Office

James Burch, Deputy Director, Bureau of Justice Assistance, 810 Seventh Street, NW., Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20531. Telephone: (202) 616-6500.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Criteria are described in the Watch Your Car Program Announcement.

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Edited by: Michael Saunders

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