Car theft is down in B.C. again, says stats released by the provincial government.
To mark Crime Prevention Week (Nov. 1-7) the province released good news for drivers and vehicle owners.
In the first half of 2012, there's been a 17 per cent drop in vehicle thefts throughout the province.
A decade ago, auto crime was on the rise and British Columbia had one of the highest rates of car theft in North America. But since the introduction of the Bait Car program in 2002 and with the efforts of police and community volunteers, vehicle thefts and break-ins have dropped by 74 per cent and 62 per cent respectively throughout the province.
Auto crime is still a problem however, and thieves look for easy targets. If you own an older vehicle, there is a higher risk of it being stolen or broken into as older vehicles often don't have an effective anti-theft device and are easy to steal.
Here are some tips from ICBC to help you protect your vehicle and belongings:
ù Use an anti-theft device and remove possessions from your vehicle - shopping bags, spare change, electronics, briefcases, and the vehicle's spare keys.
ù Electronic immobilizers are the best protection. They're hard-wired into vehicles and shut down the starter, ignition and/or fuel system. They require a special key or electronic device to start the engine and usually attach to your key ring.
ù Steering-wheel locks are a good visual deterrent for auto thieves but offer a lower form of protection.
ù Park in well-lit areas, near pedestrian traffic.
ù Keep your garage-door opener out of sight. If parking on the street outside your residence, take the garage-door opener with you.
ù Wait for the garage-door gate to close behind you when entering a parkade. Thieves could take this opportunity to slip inside.
"I encourage motorists to follow ICBC's common-sense tips for protecting their vehicles and contents from theft. By removing valuables, using an electronic vehicle immobilizer and parking in well-lit areas, you're helping to prevent auto crime," said Langley MLA Mary Polak, who serves as the minister of transportation.
Crime Prevention Week runs from Nov. 1-7, providing an opportunity to raise awareness about crime prevention measures and to acknowledge the work being done by so many in communities throughout B.C. to help reduce crime.