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Soaring Vehicle Theft Tackled

Soaring Vehicle Theft Tackled

It's a sobering statistic on its own that nearly 100 cars are stolen in New Zealand every day.

But even more sobering is the downstream effect of these thefts. The impact of car theft is not only monetary. There are two other major impacts: Totally irresponsible people who are unskilled in their use and often drive them at high speeds steal cars. These actions lead to serious motor accidents; some even fatal involving other innocent road users.

Recently stolen cars are also regularly used in armed robberies as well as burglaries and shoplifting.

In an attempt to lessen the damage caused by these activities three organisations, the New Zealand Security Association Vehicle Security Industry Group (VSIG), the New Zealand Police and the New Zealand Insurance Council are working together to raise awareness of the issue and to make it harder for car theft to take place.

The importance of effective car security measures was graphically demonstrated at a demonstration at Parliament this morning, hosted by the Associate Minister of Justice, the Hon Rick Barker.

"It has already been identified that certain cars are higher risk than others of being stolen," said Terry Creagh, chairman of the VSIG. "For example, Subarus, Familias, Corollas, Evos, and Skylines are high risk, as are all cars with Turbos or GT, V8 Commodores and Fords are among those identified."

The VSIG has now developed a five star rating system for security alarms that came into effect this month.

Also installers are required to be registered and certified with the New Zealand Security Association to standards set by the Australian and New Zealand Standards Authorities.

"We're going to cut out the cowboys and the cowboy systems," Mr Creagh says.

"Today's car thieves are sophisticated and ruthless said Mr Creagh and we need to be equally sophisticated in our protection. These new standards will go along way towards that."

Vehicle security systems are based on immobilisers, which stop the vehicle being driven away, even if the thief gets into it. The immobiliser has an all black dual cut wiring system - to get the vehicle going the thief must cut two black wires out of three, with no colour clues as to which wire should not be cut.

Other devices include anti scanning systems so no one can intercept remotes and an ignition kill switch over-ridden by a pin number. Some systems sound an alarm if a sensor picks up ultra-sonic waves caused when a glass window breaks, while other systems pick up bumps to the car.

The rating system has focused on the effectiveness of alarms coupled with the risk level of the vehicle. Western Australia experienced a 23 percent decline in car thefts following the introduction of a similar system.

"In their Statement of Intent for 2003/2004, the Police noted the growth of vehicle theft was a major concern and their determination to reduce it. These steps will certainly help," said Mr Creagh.

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