ASK THE INSPECTOR: Number plate thefts targeted

Were you aware that number plates are the most commonly stolen property from vehicles and last year, more than 10,000 number plates were stolen in Victoria?  

Offenders use stolen number plates to avoid identification when committing offences such as burglary and drug trafficking and to avoid speeding and parking fines.

Here in Bendigo we are not immune to number plate theft.  During the past month, there have been numerous incidents where number plates have been stolen from vehicles. There have also been a number of pursuits where stolen number plates have been fixed to vehicles to prevent detection, subsequently making it very difficult to identify the offender.

In order to prevent number plate theft, Victoria Police has partnered with the community and started the SAFEPL8 campaign.  We will continue to target and detect offenders, but it is up to you to make your number plates harder to steal.

One way to do this is secure your number plates with one-way, anti-theft screws. They are designed to be fitted with a standard flat-bladed screwdriver but require a special tool to remove.  They can be fitted in minutes and are relatively cheap to purchase.  

Screws are available from:

- Most major hardware stores;

- Participating automotive outlets, which may fit them free of charge when cars are serviced or repaired.  Visit the VACC website for a list of participating outlets;

- Participating RACV and Burson Auto Parts stores; and

- Participating petrol stations.

Police alone cannot solve issues like theft from motor vehicles.  We  still see too many vehicles left unlocked with valuables inside just waiting for someone to steal. You can help by doing the following:

- Tell friends, family, neighbours and colleagues about SAFEPL8.  Tell them how easy it is to help;

- Always lock your car to prevent thefts;

-  Don’t leave valuables in your car;

- Park off-street in your driveway if you don’t have a garage; and

- Take notice of activity in your neighbourhood.  Report suspicious activity to your local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

We are fortunate that community groups such as Neighbourhood Watch and Lions Clubs often conduct free installation days of one-way anti-theft screws. These are usually well advertised in local media, so keep a look out for them.

More information can be found on the Victoria Police website by searching for SAFEPL8.

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