Auto crime drops as IMPACT celebrates decade of success
March 28, 2014
When the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) first started chasing car thieves in 2003, 70 people a day reported their vehicle stolen to ICBC. In 2013, after a decade of IMPACT, only 17 people reported a stolen vehicle on an average day in BC.
April is Auto Crime Enforcement Month in BC, and IMPACT, in partnership with the provincial government and ICBC, is celebrating the work of the past 10 years. The month also marks the annual release of BC's Top Ten Most Wanted Auto Crime Offenders, a highly effective initiative with 95 of the posted 100 wanted offenders arrested to date, thanks to the help of the media and public.
"Over the past decade, IMPACT has become a model of how you deter and reduce thefts of and from vehicles – by being focused, strategic, adaptable, and consistently driving home the message that if you steal any type of bait vehicle, you're going to jail," said Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton. "The benefits of IMPACT to both road safety and people's pocketbooks are clear and continue to grow."
"Though we may be best known for our BAIT car program, it's our enforcement team in the background who are the unsung heroes, ensuring our fleet can be quickly and easily deployed to address hot spots as they occur throughout BC," says Inspector Peter Jadis, head of IMPACT. "We typically see notable drops when we target specific areas."
Successes have come not only through IMPACT's work, but also through the efforts of front-line police officers in detachments and police departments throughout BC. Key achievements include:
- The introduction of the BAIT car program, now the largest of its kind in the world (2004)
- Start of annual Top 10 Wanted Auto Thieves (2006)
- Stolen lives video, drawing attention to people killed by stolen vehicles (2008)
- Bait trailers, trailer theft (2011)
- Introduction of Bait property (2013)
According to ICBC, vehicle thefts have decreased 75 per cent, and theft from vehicles has declined 68 per cent in B.C. since 2003. From 2012 to 2013, vehicle thefts decreased nine per cent, and theft from vehicles declined 17 per cent in B.C., the year that IMPACT introduced BAIT property.
"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 – remove valuables and use an antitheft device if your vehicle doesn't have an immobilizer."
A recent example of the success of BAIT vehicles is the December 2013 deployment of Bait Snowmobiles in southeastern BC, which resulted in a large drop in stolen sleds, while four individuals were charged with possession of stolen property in relation to two separate thefts.
In 2014 investigators at IMPACT are devoting more resources to targeted enforcement, including larger scale auto thefts, such as those running chop shops or doing vehicle cloning. Some thieves are stealing vehicles simply for the value in the metal.
"A car can be reduced to $200-300 worth of recycled metal, and that's something fairly new that we're seeing," says Insp. Jadis. "Ten years ago it may have been more joy riding, or break and enters with stolen vehicles. The policing environment is always changing."
Corporal Rob Stephenson
Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT)
ICBC media relations