With thousands of vehicles stolen in Alberta in 2021, RCMP are reminding residents that they can acquire a simple security device, free of charge, from police detachments.
Strathmore RCMP says the security screws, a set of locking bolts, can be installed on vehicles to ensure your licence plate isn’t taken off your vehicle.
While the devices won’t help your vehicle itself from being stolen, RCMP say using the screws will prevent thieves from using your plate on another vehicle and slowing down investigations.
“Strathmore RCMP has initiated this crime prevention program to protect residents, prevent license plate theft, and help increase the detectability of auto thieves in stolen vehicles,” RCMP said in a release.
Licence plate theft is a growing issue in Strathmore, which is also why police are calling on residents to do more to protect their property.
“In response this program was created as part of our overall crime reduction strategy to protect our residents from becoming victims of crime,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Wielgosz.
RCMP say that when vehicles are stolen, they can be fitted with different vehicle identification numbers (VINs), dismantled into spare parts in “chop shops, shipped outside of Canada or used to commit further crimes.
If criminals are able to steal a licence plate from another vehicle of a similar make and model as the one they’ve stolen, they can operate undetected for some time until the plate’s owner reports it to police.
“Once installed, property criminals will have difficulty removing a licence plate without detection or causing noticeable damage to the license plate. Most of whom will likely move on.”
If needed, the locking security screws can be removed at the Strathmore RCMP or any other participating location.
In 2021, approximately 6,667 vehicles were stolen in RCMP jurisdictions. More than 23,000 were stolen in Alberta in 2019 – equivalent to 64 per day.