EDITORIAL: Drivers paying despite drop in auto thefts

One program, at least, is making an impact on those who seek to steal from us.

As flawed rhetoric and relentless spin-doctoring make it hard to know just how our interests are being served, one program, at least, is making an impact on those who seek to steal from us.

Figures released this month by ICBC show that auto theft has fallen 71 per cent since the use of bait cars began.

Thefts from vehicles are also down 64 per cent provincewide.

It’s not just those pesky bait cars – now joined by bait commercial vehicles – making life difficult for criminals.

The corporation is patting us on the back for doing our part by locking vehicles, using anti-theft immobilizers, parking in secure, lit areas and removing valuables from our cars.

In further good news for the average, cash-strapped motorist, the corporation recently announced it is considering reducing or eliminating its incentive-pay program for executives if it fails to meet its annual profit targets.

The program paid out $17 million in 2010, but if declining figures for 2011 hold true, payouts for the corporation CEO, executives and management will be scaled down. If ICBC makes less than $35 million in net income in future years, the CEO and executives will lose their bonuses, and performance pay will be off the table altogether if the corporation posts a net loss.

That still leaves $497 million in profits ICBC expects to turn over to the province over the next three years.

As this is money considered surplus to ICBC’s needs, it is said to have no bearing on the need to raise basic rates, blamed on rising claims costs.

It might be hard for the average driver to disagree with critics who characterize the government’s continuing dependence on such funds as a “stealth tax”.

Perhaps bait cars – and locks and immobilizers on vehicles – are not enough to dispel every attack on our property, after all.

– Black Press

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