The Anti-Thief Association is one of the oldest organizations in Arenzville. Originally, the Anti-Horse Thief Association, it was first chartered in Clark County, Missouri in 1854, and over the next 50 years, chapters multiplied aross the Midwest. At the beginning of the 20th century, the A.T.H.A. had more than 30,000 members nationwide.
The organization's purpose is similar to what we would recognize today as a Neighborhood Watch Committee. As described in the volume I of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... (Standard Pub. Co. Chicago: 1912), "the Anti Horse Thief Association is in no sense a vigilance committee, and the organization has never found it necessary to adopt the mysterious methods of "Regulators," "White Caps" or kindred organizations. Its deeds are done in the broad open light of the day. When a theft or robbery is committed in any portion of the vast territory covered by the association and the direction taken by the offender is ascertained, local associations are notified to be on the lookout for the fugitive, and his capture is almost a certainty. Although the original name is retained, bankers, merchants and manufacturers are to be found among the members, courts recognize its value, criminals fear it, and press and pulpit have endorsed and praised its work in the apprehension of criminals."
The A.H.T.A. has been active in Arenzville for over 100 years and has contributed to a number of community projects such as improvements to the village parks and purchase of uniforms and equipment for girls' and boys' sports teams. In 1928, the "Horse" was removed from the organization's name, and it has since been known as the Anti-Thief Association or ATA. The ATA is a co-sponsor of the annual Arenzville Burgoo.