Auto crime rates drop across B.C.

NANAIMO – ICBC reports a drop in auto crime in Nanaimo.

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is letting recently published statistics speak to an overall drop in auto crime across the province.

The numbers were rolled out as the B.C. government, Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team and ICBC launched the 2014 Auto Crime Enforcement Month in April and announced significant auto crime reductions have been achieved over the past decade.

Aside from an upward tick in 2007, Nanaimo’s figures show an overall steady decline from when they peaked in 2004 at 501 auto thefts and 740 thefts from vehicles. Last year’s figures show 120 vehicles were stolen in Nanaimo – 10 more than in 2012 –   and 110 were broken into.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said auto crime overall is down because of a combination of programs that include the Bait Car Program, Block Watch, Citizens on Patrol and Nanaimo RCMP’s crime analysis department.

“Auto crime is one of the significant priorities for RCMP within E Division,” O’Brien said. “Specifically within Nanaimo, our bait car program has been hugely successful. Our ability via our criminal analyst to identify individuals involved in this crime and target them, that has been instrumental also. [Citizens on Patrol and Block Watch members] know where the hot spots are and where crimes are happening and vehicles are being stolen. They know what to look for, the telltale signs, and to report suspicious activity. So it’s a totality of things coming together.”

For 2014, investigators will devote more resources to targeting larger scale auto theft operations, such as chop shops and vehicle cloning, which involves stealing the identity of a legitimately owned vehicle and applying it to a stolen one.

For auto crime prevention tips and lists of the top items stolen from vehicles and the most-stolen vehicles, please visit www.icbc.com/news/2014mar28-04.