Combination of measures brings down auto crime

'They know if they steal a (bait) car they're going to jail'

Kamloops Daily News
February 1, 2013 01:00 AM

Bait cars, lock-out programs and mandatory immobilizers are all likely reasons for an 83 per cent drop in auto theft and break-ins in the last nine years, an ICBC spokeswoman said Friday.

"It's a combination of factors," said Michelle Hargrave, senior communications specialist for ICBC in the Southern Interior.

The bait car program started 10 years ago, while immobilizers have been mandatory for the last few years, she said.

"It (the bait car program) has obviously impacted thieves. They know if they steal a (bait) car they're going to jail," she said.

When immobilizers started being built into new cars, thefts of some commonly stolen models plummeted, she said. Now thieves target older vehicles.

ICBC's statistics show the provincial average for auto thefts fell by 73 per cent between 2003 and 2012. In Kamloops, 480 vehicles were stolen here in 2003. Last year, there were 80 - a drop of 83 per cent.

There have also been volunteer programs to spot stolen cars and lock out crime that remind motorists to keep any valuables out of their vehicles.

Theft from vehicles in Kamloops also took an 83-per-cent drop in the past nine years, Hargrave said.

Despite those successes - and the savings that should result from such big drops in vehicle crime - ICBC's rates haven't changed much.

Hargrave said she wondered the same thing.

ICBC's rates are split into two categories: basic insurance and optional coverage. Everyone has to buy basic coverage, and auto crime is not included in that category. Car owners with immobilizers also get a small break on their basic insurance. Those who don't have them can have them installed.

Regarding optional coverage, which is offered by other companies as well as ICBC, Hargrave said there has been some decrease in rates as a result of the reduced auto crime.

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