VPD's Bait Car program celebrates seventh anniversary

Auto theft drops 71 per cent in Vancouver since 2003

VANCOUVER, Sept. 30 /CNW/ - Vancouver's Bait Car program in Vancouver has significantly stalled auto crime over the past seven years with thefts dropping 71 per cent, or by 1,780 fewer vehicles stolen, when comparing the first six months of 2009 to 2003, Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Kash Heed announced in celebrating the initiative's anniversary wth Vancouver police Chief Jim Chu.

The program, which operates alongside the province-wide bait car strategy run by the Integrated Municipal Police Auto Crime Team (IMPACT), also produced a year over year comparison between June of this year and June 2008 that shows car theft is down 27 percent from 970 to 710 cars taken.

"Bait Cars are a shining example of how innovation, integration and investment are working to reduce auto theft crime," said Heed. "The Vancouver Police Department deserves a lot of credit for launching this program which has also been very successful in other areas of the province."

In 2002, the VPD and ICBC piloted the province's first Bait Cars in Vancouver, which included an award-winning advertising campaign, "Bait Cars are Everywhere: Steal a Bait Car - Go to Jail."

"We owe much to the men and women of the VPD and various police agencies that work together to arrest car thieves," Chu said. "We're also thankful for the dedication and commitment of our many volunteers who patrol with us to find stolen cars."

In 2008, 183 stolen cars were recovered by volunteers from the VPD, ICBC-supported Vancouver Community Policing Centres, Citizen's Crime Watch program and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association's ambassador patrols program. The groups also issued nearly 23,000 safety tip notices to vehicle owners to help prevent auto thefts and break-ins.

"We've seen a continued drop in auto crime claims thanks to this successful partnership and customers taking steps to protect themselves," said Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC's road safety director. "It's one of the reasons we've been able to lower optional insurance rates."

Due to the initial success of the Vancouver pilot program, IMPACT and ICBC worked together, expanding the program throughout the Lower Mainland in 2004. By 2005 it was expanded further to Vancouver Island, the Interior and North. When comparing the first six months of 2003 to 2009, auto theft decreased by 52 per cent province-wide from 12,090 cars stolen to 5,780.

The Province and police employ additional strategies in the battle against auto theft. The Automatic Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR) technology enables police to scan licence plates for stolen vehicles, warrants or arrests with the use of cameras and computers, and the Air One and Air Two helicopters assist in the apprehension of car thieves.

For a list of regional, Vancouver and other municipal auto theft stats, visit the 'Road Safety' section of icbc.com and click on 'Preventing Auto Crime'.

SOURCE ICBC

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Kim Thé, ICBC, (604) 842-5023; Cst. Lindsey Houghton, VPD, (604) 717-3679

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