April is Auto Crime Enforcement Month – “Don’t give thieves a chance”

B.C., Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT)

2024-04-05 10:30 PDT

Emerging tech has made it easier and faster for thieves to steal away vehicles in a matter of moments. April is Auto Crime Enforcement Month, and the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) and ICBC are teaming up to educate drivers and vehicle owners and take steps to protect their vehicle from auto theft.

Don’t give thieves a chance is a message for vehicle owners to stay ahead of thieves by protecting themselves and their vehicles before they become victims of auto theft.

Image of a man breaking into a vehicle.  Image includes written text  Don't give thieves a chance. Keep your remote access key fobs in a safe place and lock your car doors.

Auto theft is top of mind for everyone these days, says Eugene Lum, Officer in Charge of the Integrated Auto Crime Enforcement Team. The investigators at IMPACT are committed to preventing auto thefts and we are asking vehicle owners to do the same by protecting their vehicles and key fobs.

In 2023, B.C. had its lowest number of auto theft incidents across the province since 2018. BC had 7,538 auto theft incidents, a 10% decrease from 2022 to 2023 with declines posted across the province.

We partner with police, volunteers and communities to reduce auto crime in our province, said Shabnem Afzal, ICBC’s Director of Road Safety. We want to help our customers protect themselves from auto crime. To reduce your risk, park in well-lit areas, secure your keys, lock your doors and remove valuables and other items like shopping bags from your vehicle.

In recent files, investigators have noted relay attacks and code reprogramming have become favoured tools for thieves. Relay attacks occur when thieves use a secondary device to program key fobs and gain access to your vehicle. Vehicle owners and drivers can protect themselves by keeping your key fobs safe and away from doors and windows. They can also invest in an RFID key box or pouch to block attempts of signal tampering or relay attack.

Tips to prevent Auto Theft:

Auto crime has real impacts on people in B.C., and it’s important that motorists take proactive measures to minimize their risks by keeping their vehicles locked, valuables out of sight and their keys in a secured place, said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Auto theft is trending down in our province, and we are continuing to engage and support further discussions with our federal and provincial partners on a coordinated approach to tackle organized crime and address gaps that are making cars more susceptible to theft.

2024 also marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Integrated Municipal Auto Crime Enforcement Team. Since 2003 when IMPACT was created; there were 88 vehicles reported stolen on an average day in 2003. Twenty years later in 2023, only 22 vehicles were reported stolen on an average day.

The team at IMPACT has far exceeded the expectations and outcomes initially set in 2003, says Deputy Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, Commanding Officer for BC RCMP. Auto thefts in BC have decreased by 75% since 2003, thanks to IMPACT’s targeted enforcement and proactive policing efforts. Having a dedicated integrated team that is able to detect, deter and address auto crime trends has made an incredible impact.

Auto Crime Enforcement Month is an annual event, supported by IMPACT, ICBC and the BC Government. Each year, a concerted effort is made to promote awareness of auto crime to try and prevent vehicle owners from becoming auto crime victims.

For more information on IMPACT, prevention tips, and a list of Wanted Auto Crime Offenders in BC, please visit www.baitcar.com.

IMPACT is an integrated unit, currently made up of members from the RCMP, Vancouver Police, Delta Police, New Westminster Police, Transit Police and ICBC Special Investigations Unit.

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BC RCMP Communications

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