Sim­ple mea­sures put the brakes on thieves

Central Leader - - NEWS - By KELLY DEN­NETT

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 cen­tral­ and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to see a video of how easy it is to stop li­cence plate thefts.

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