Simple measures put the brakes on thieves
Police and Neighbourhood Support are stopping crime in its tracks by removing the very thing that enables it.
They are joining forces to make some small adjustments to people’s licence plates, replacing standard screws with unique ones which aren’t easily removed with a Phillips head screwdriver.
Inspector Claire Humble says licence plate thefts can be a precursor to more criminal activity including petrol drive-offs.
‘‘The crime often begins when criminals steal a number plate from another car, put it on their own vehicle, fill up at the pump and then drive off without paying,’’ she says.
‘‘They then have a full tank of petrol in their car to drive right across the greater Auckland area to commit more crime, such as stealing cars.’’
The Safer Plates initiative is part of a wider clampdown on what police call ‘‘ volume crime’’.
Although they don’t know why, police say volume crimes traditionally increase during March.
Police are using a variety of methods to stop crime including having checkpoints at motorway off-ramps known to be used by recidivist offenders as well as using vans with automatic number plate recognition technology which alerts police to vehicles of interest.
The initiative is being trialled by Waitemata police in North and West Auckland.
Go to centralleader.co.nz and click on Latest Edition to see a video of how easy it is to stop licence plate thefts.