Prince George has been part of a province wide trend that has seen auto-related thefts drop dramatically over the last nine years, according to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.
From 2003, when the bait car program was introduced, to 2012, the number of vehicle thefts has dropped 78 per cent and the number of thefts from vehicles fell 88 per cent in Prince George.
More recently, there were 45 per cent fewer vehicle thefts and 23 per cent fewer break-ins during 2012, compared to 2011.
All the comparisons are based on numbers for the first six months of each year.
For the province as a whole, auto theft has dropped 74 per cent since 2003 and compared to 2011, it has fallen 17 per cent. Thefts from vehicles has fallen 62 per cent since 2003 although just four per cent during this year's first six months compared to the same period in 2011.
Auto crime is still a problem, particularly for the owners of older vehicles because they often don't have an effective anti-theft device, according to ICBC.
Here are further some tips from ICBC to help protect vehicles and belongings:
- Use an anti-theft device and remove possessions from vehicle - shopping bags, spare change, electronics, briefcases, and the vehicle's spare keys.
- Electronic immobilizers are the best protection. They're hard-wired into vehicles and shut down the starter, ignition and/or fuel system.
They require a special key or electronic device to start the engine and usually attach to your key ring.
-Steering-wheel locks are a good visual deterrent for auto thieves but offer a lower form of protection.
- Park in well-lit areas, near pedestrian traffic.
- Keep the garage-door opener out of sight. If parking on the street outside your residence, take the garage-door opener with you.
- Wait for the garage-door gate to close behind you when entering a parkade. Thieves could take this opportunity to slip inside.
Looking more closely at the numbers, there were 246 vehicle thefts during the first six months of 2003 in Prince George and for January to June this year, the total stood at 53. For the same period in 2011, the total was 97.
For thefts from vehicles in Prince George, the total for the first six months of 2003 was 501 but was just 82 for the same period this year. For January to June 2011, it was 80 thefts.