EAST ST. LOUIS — State Senator Christopher Belt helped secure a $2.4 million grant for the Metro East Auto Task Force — a move that will prevent carjackings, vehicle theft and break-ins throughout the community.

“The uptick in carjackings is a disturbing trend,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “Innocent people are being targeted by this senseless crime across Illinois — and particularly in the Metro East.”

With carjackings on the rise, Belt stood alongside Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias to announce a $2.4 million grant for the Metro East Auto Task Force. The group is a collaborative effort between law enforcement agencies to investigate and prevent auto thefts, carjacking and other related crimes.

“It’s vital law enforcement and community organizations have the resources they need to address the increase in crime head on,” said Belt. “Funding for the Metro East Auto Task Force allows us to hone in on our effort to recover stolen vehicles and prevent carjackings.”

Belt has been instrumental in the fight against the uptick in carjackings. He recently supported a measure to provide protections for victims of carjackings who receive red light or speed camera violations after their vehicle has been hijacked, as well as one to provide additional resources to law enforcement to target and capture people who steal someone’s car.

This session, Belt served as a co-sponsor of a recently signed law to require Illinois car manufacturers to establish a 24/7 hotline for police and consumers to utilize in case of a carjacking or kidnapping.