Road safety

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Preventing auto crime

After a decade of consistent decline, auto crime is once again on the rise in B.C. According to police data, vehicle thefts increased by 31% and vehicle break-ins by 17% in 2014. Learn about the opportunities thieves look for, what ICBC’s doing, and what you can do to protect yourself from auto crime.

Thieves look for opportunities

Older vehicles are easier targets

Older vehicles are easier targets because they are less likely to have the most effective security features.

Older vehicles tend to have weaker door locks and are less likely to have electronic engine immobilizers installed (only as of September 1, 2007 were all cars, vans, light trucks and SUVs required to have anti-theft engine immobilizers at the time of manufacture).

Top 10 items stolen from vehicles

Remember that what's in your vehicle is also at risk. According to police reports, these items are the most popular:

  1. Smartphones
  2. Personal electronics—tablets, laptops, iPods, GPS
  3. Work tools
  4. Credit cards and identification
  5. Stereo equipment
  6. Cash and change
  7. Car parts and accessories
  8. Garage door openers
  9. Sunglasses
  10. Keys​​

Top 10 stolen vehicles

According to police reports, the following were the most popularly stolen vehicles in 2014:

  1. Honda Civic/CRX
  2. Honda Accord
  3. Ford F350
  4. Acura Integra
  5. Ford F-150XLT
  6. Ford F250 Supercab
  7. Dodge Caravan
  8. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
  9. Toyota Corolla
  10. Toyota Camry
​ ​

​What you can do​

Don’t give thieves a chance:

  • Never leave your keys unguarded, such as at the gym or in a restaurant. According to police data, approximately one in five vehicles are stolen using the owner's keys, so be sure to keep them on you or locked in a secure place.
  • Park in secure, well-lit areas near pedestrian traffic. Always lock doors and close windows, even if you’re away from your vehicle for just a few minutes.
  • Remove possessions from your vehicle—shopping bags, tools, spare change, electronics, brief cases, etc. Put anything that could tempt a thief in the trunk.
  • Wait for garage door gates to close behind you so thieves don't have a chance to get in the parkade. 
  • Keep your garage door opener out of sight.
  • If you have an older vehicle, use an anti-theft device, such as an electronic engine immobilizer or steering wheel lock.
  • Don’t store a spare or valet key in your vehicle.

Use anti-theft devices

​​Electronic immobilizers are anti-theft devices that cut off power to a vehicle’s fuel, starter, or ignition system when not in use. If your vehicle is equipped with a passive electronic immobilizer, you may be eligible for discounts and savings.

Vehicle alarms will draw attention to would-be thieves with sirens, beeps and other loud noises. Some systems will also trigger flashing lights.

Steering wheel locks are good vi​sual deterrents. However, they may not be enough protection if your vehicle has a moderate to high risk of being stolen.

What ICBC’s doing

ICBC invests in auto crime prevention programs because less crime benefits everyone and helps keep rates as low as possible. We provide support to police enforcement activities in the province, such as IMPACT and the Bait Car program, as well as a variety of community prevention efforts.

IMPACT (Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team)

ICBC supports IMPACT, an auto crime enforcement team that operates year-round and is comprised of specialized auto theft investigators. IMPACT engages in a wide variety of auto crime enforcement activities and is continually developing innovative strategies to reduce auto crime in B.C.

The Bait Car program

The Bait Car program is an enforcement strategy maintained by IMPACT in order to deter and capture auto thieves. Using live-feed and GPS technology, police monitor thieves’ activities in real-time and apprehend those that engage in criminal activity. Police also equip these vehicles with Bait Property (such as laptops or gym bags) which can be tracked if stolen from the vehicle.

The program also includes Bait Trailers and Commercial Bait Vehicles to help police combat the theft of these vehicles and their contents.

 

​​​Be advised: video footage captured by Baitcar technology of auto crime in progress contains strong language

​Community-based activities

ICBC partners with local police initiatives in communities that have spikes in auto crime. When able, we help to fund steering wheel locks that police distribute to owners of vulnerable vehicles.

We also invest in community-based education and prevention activities led by local groups and volunteers, such as the Lock Out Auto Crime and Stolen Auto Recovery programs.

Savings for using anti-theft devices

ICBC offers insurance savings and deductible rebates to eligible customers that protect their vehicles using anti-theft devices. Contact your local Autoplan broker for details.

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