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Auto-theft numbers in the Tri-Cities continue to decline

The number of vehicle thefts in the Tri-Cities continued its 10-year decline in 2013, however the nature of auto crime is changing, according to an RCMP officer. - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
The number of vehicle thefts in the Tri-Cities continued its 10-year decline in 2013, however the nature of auto crime is changing, according to an RCMP officer.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

The number of vehicle thefts in the Tri-Cities continued its 10-year decline in 2013, however the nature of auto crime is changing, according to an RCMP officer.

When the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) launched in 2003, Insp. Peter Jadis said most stolen vehicles were taken on joy-rides or used to commit other crimes.

These days, with the increasing costs of metal, sometimes all a thief is after is the value a car has at a recycling scrap yard.

"A car can be reduced to $200 to $300 worth of recycled metal, and that's something fairly new that we are seeing," Jadis said. "Ten years ago, it may have been joy riding or break and enter with other stolen vehicles. The policing environment is always changing."

Since IMPACT was launched, Coquitlam has seen an 88% drop in stolen cars, with the latest numbers showing a decrease from 160 in 2012 to 140 in 2013, roughly 14%. Port Coquitlam has seen a similar drop, falling from 92 in 2013 to 80 in 2013, which continues an 84% decline since 2003.

Port Moody was the only municipality where the number of vehicle thefts increased in the Tri-Cities. The number of stolen cars rose from 16 in 2012 to 19 in 2013, which is about a 19% increase. However, the city has seen an 82% drop over the last 10 years.

Theft from vehicles has also declined in the Tri-Cities.

In Coquitlam, the number of cars that were broken into in 2013 dropped from 570 in 2012 to 470 in 2013, while in Port Coquitlam the number fell from 290 to 170 over the same time period.

Port Moody saw the largest decline in thefts from vehicles, dropping 55% from 83 in 2012 to 37 in 2013.

Last year was the tenth anniversary since the launch of the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team, which oversees the bait car program and other anti-theft initiatives. The team started at time when approximately 70 people per day in B.C. reported their vehicle stolen. Over the last decade, that number has dropped to about 17.

Across the province, vehicle thefts have dropped 75% and thefts from vehicles has decreased 68% over the last decade.

"ICBC invests in auto crime prevention, including the Bait Car program and IMPACT because less crime benefits everyone and helps control claims costs and keep rates as low as possible," said John Dickinson, ICBC's director of road safety. "Even though overall auto crime is decreasing across B.C., you still need to be vigilant and make sure your vehicle isn't a target for thieves."

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

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