Skip to main content

Know your local car thief

Who's stealing all those cars?

That, in 2002, was the burning question facing Winnipeg police---and Manitoba Public Insurance which was paying the cost.

Or, as the authors of the submission from the Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy put it in their submission to the Herman Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing “Why was auto theft so attractive to young people that some would go out in -30 C weather to spend the day stealing 5 cars?”

MPI forked out some money to get the answer. They had to. The problem was costing them millions. And it was getting worse by the year.

Starting the very next year, 2003, to 2007, Winnipeg had the worst car theft problem in North America. In 2007, the theft rate here was 1714 per 100,000 of population. The city with the highest rate in the United States was Modesto, California, at 1048/100,000. The cost to MPI would eventually climb to nearly $40 million a year.

In 2002 MPI funded a study of jailed car thieves to get their answer.( “Pilot Study of Juvenile Auto Theft Offenders.” Jeff Anderson and Rick Linden, Unpublished paper, University of Manitoba.) The lives of 43 of the city's worst car thieves told them this story (as revealed in the WATSS award submission):

http://www.popcenter.org/library/awards/goldstein/2009/09-42(F).pdf


• Most lived in single-parent families. Over half had run away from home at least once. Respondents reported a high rate of criminal involvement among immediate family members.
• Respondents were not successful in school. They were 2-3 years below expected grade levels, and had high rates of truancy, suspension and expulsion.
• Average age of first involvement was 12 and the average age when they began stealing cars themselves was 13.
• Respondents were involved in a range of offenses in addition to vehicle theft.
• Most did little planning and seemed willing to steal cars any place and any time.
They used the vehicles for joyriding and for short-term transportation and usually just abandoned the vehicles.
• Respondents enjoyed the thrill-seeking dimensions of vehicle theft, which helps to explain why they often stole several vehicles in a day. Their thefts appeared to be a way of gaining status.
• Peers were important. Many respondents reported gang associations. Virtually all had friends who stole cars and most reported peer pressure to steal cars. This supports the conclusion that there is an extensive adolescent car theft culture in some parts of Winnipeg.
Respondents had high rates of drug and alcohol use and were involved in a thrill-seeking lifestyle that included vehicle theft.
• Some targets were clearly more attractive than others. There was a strong preference for stealing older Chrysler vehicles.
• Most respondents were not concerned about the consequences and any fear they had was not sufficient to overcome the thrill of stealing cars or the peer pressure.

A few other points of the problem facing police popped out.

• Clearance rates were around 10 percent, indicating that conventional investigative and enforcement tactics were not effective. Analysis of court statistics showed that sentences for vehicle theft were typically very light, again suggesting that conventional youth justice measures would not alleviate the problem.

• Auto theft was part of the youth culture in some Winnipeg neighbourhoods. This conclusion was based on interviews with young offenders, and was reinforced by interviews with police, probation officers, and prosecutors.

Clamping down on repeat car thieves was one component of WATSS. The other was forcing motorists to install immobilizers. The award submission contains some insight into the success of that element of the program...

The Effectiveness of Electronic Immobilizers
The immobilizer program has been very successful. As of May, 2009 about 85 percent of the most at-risk vehicles had immobilizers installed. None of these immobilizers has been defeated. A small number of immobilized vehicles have been stolen, but these have resulted from people leaving their keys in the vehicle or from the theft of keys.
Installations of most at-risk vehicles will be complete by September, 2009. At that time, at least 75 percent of Winnipeg’s vehicles will have effective immobilizers.

Public Support
There was potential resistance to the compulsory immobilizer program. The city’s major newspaper editorialized that the program was “An Abuse of Power” and a popular tabloid columnist wrote several stories describing how after-market immobilizers could ruin vehicles and result in major disruptions to owners. The Task Force responded quickly to these attempts to shape public opinion. More importantly, MPI implemented a rigorous quality control program to ensure that installers and installation facilities were certified, carefully trained, and monitored by an independent standards organization.


They also established an Immobilizer Quality Control Group that people could call to ensure an immediate response to any problems with immobilizers. As a result , the failure rate of immobilizers was extremely low and the issue quickly disappeared as a public concern.

****

This mandatory program was phased in over 12 months. However, crime analysts noted that as favourite targets were protected, offenders began to target other vehicles, particularly those equipped with the General Motors Passlock II immobilizer....

While these immobilizers do offer some security, several of our experienced offenders had learned how to defeat them and passed this knowledge on to their peers.
Consequently, when installations of the first list were completed in September, 2008, a second list of most at-risk vehicles was established. Immobilizer installations in these vehicles will be completed September, 2009. Thus far there is no evidence of serious displacement to other types of vehicles. Because the remaining vehicles include a diverse range of makes and models (typically low-volume models), it is unlikely that offenders will develop enough expertise in stealing them to significantly affect theft rates. Also, technical experts believe that some actually have effective immobilizers but have not gone through the formal approval process
.

MPI says the success of WATSS in reducing auto theft by more than 75 percent has resulted in savings estimated to be at least $30 million per year.

Popular posts from this blog

The unreported bombshell conspiracy evidence in the Trudeau/SNC-Lavelin scandal

Wow. No, double-wow. A game-changing bombshell lies buried in the supplementary evidence provided to the House of Commons Judiciary Committee by former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. It has gone virtually unreported since she submitted the material almost a week ago. As far as we can find, only one journalist-- Andrew Coyne, columnist for the National Post--- has even mentioned it and even then he badly missed what it meant, burying it in paragraph 10 of a 14 paragraph story. The gist of the greatest political scandal in modern Canadian history is well-known by now. It's bigger than Adscam, the revelation 15 years ago that prominent members of the Liberal Party of Canada and the party itself funneled tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks into their own pockets from federal spending in Quebec sponsoring ads promoting Canadian unity. That was just venal politicians and a crooked political party helping themselves to public money. The Trudeau-Snc-Lavalin scandal is

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. There, we said it.

Manitoba Hydro is on its deathbed. Oh, you won't find anyone official to say it. Yet . Like relatives trying to appear cheery and optimistic around a loved one that's been diagnosed with terminal cancer, the people in power are in the first stage of grief -- denial. The prognosis for Hydro was delivered three weeks ago at hearings before the Public Utilities Board where the utility was seeking punishingly higher rates for customers in Manitoba. It took us this long to read through the hundred-plus pages of transcript, to decipher the coded language of the witnesses, to interpret what they were getting at, and, finally, to understand the terrible conclusion.  We couldn't believe it, just as, we're sure, you can't--- so we did it all again, to get a second opinion, so to speak.  Hydro conceded to the PUB that it undertook a massive expansion program--- involving three (it was once four) new dams and two new major powerlines (one in the United States)---whi

Crips and Bloodz true cultural anchors of Winnipeg's aboriginal gangs

(Bebo tribute page to Aaron Nabess on the right, his handgun-toting friend on the left) At least six murder victims in Winnipeg in the past year are linked to a network of thuglife, gangster rap-styled, mainly aboriginal street gangs calling themselves Crips and Bloods after the major black gangs of L.A. The Black Rod has been monitoring these gangs for several months ever since discovering memorial tributes to victim Josh Prince on numerous pages on Bebo.com, a social networking website like Myspace and Facebook. Josh Prince , a student of Kildonan East Collegiate, was stabbed to death the night of May 26 allegedly while breaking up a fight. His family said at the time he had once been associated with an unidentified gang, but had since broken away. But the devotion to Prince on sites like Watt Street Bloodz and Kingk Notorious Bloodz (King-K-BLOODZ4Life) shows that at the time of his death he was still accepted as one of their own. Our searches of Bebo have turned up another f

Nahanni Fontaine, the NDP's Christian-bashing, cop-smearing, other star candidate

As the vultures of the press circle over the wounded Liberal Party of Manitoba, one NDP star candidate must be laughing up her sleeve at how her extremist past has escaped the scrutiny of reporters and pundits. Parachuted into a safe NDP seat in Winnipeg's North End, she nonetheless feared a bruising campaign against a well-heeled Liberal opponent.  Ha ha.  Instead, the sleepy newspeeps have turned a blind eye to her years of vitriolic attacks on Christianity, white people, and police. * She's spent years  bashing Christianity  as the root cause of all the problems of native people in Canada. * She's called for  a boycott of white businesses . * And with her  Marxist research partner, she's  smeared city police as intransigent racists . Step up Nahanni Fontaine, running for election in St. John's riding as successor to the retiring Gord Macintosh. While her male counterpart in the NDP's galaxy of stars, Wab Kinew, has responded to the controversy over

Exposing the CBC/WFP double-team smear of a hero cop

Published since 2006 on territory ceded, released, surrendered and yielded up in 1871 to Her Majesty the Queen and successors forever. Exposing the CBC/FP double-team smear of a hero cop Some of the shoddiest journalism in recent times appeared this long August weekend when the CBC and Winnipeg Free Press doubled teamed on a blatant smear of a veteran city police officer. In the latest example of narrative journalism these media outlets spun stories with total disregard for facts that contradicted the central message of the reports which, simplified, is: police are bad and the system is covering up. Let's start with the story on the taxpayer funded CBC by Sarah Petz that can be summed up in the lead. "A February incident where an off-duty Winnipeg officer allegedly knocked a suspect unconscious wasn't reported to the province's police watchdog, and one criminologist says it shows how flawed oversight of law enforcement can be." There you have it. A policeman, not

Winnipeg needs a new police chief - ASAP

When did the magic die? A week ago the Winnipeg police department delivered the bad news---crime in the city is out of control. The picture painted by the numbers (for 2018) was appalling. Robberies up ten percent in  a single year.  (And that was the good news.) Property crimes were up almost 20 percent.  Total crime was 33 percent higher than the five year average. The measure of violent crime in Winnipeg had soared to a rating of 161.  Only four years earlier it stood at 116. That's a 38 percent deterioration in safety. How did it happen? How, when in 2015 the police and Winnipeg's police board announced they had discovered the magic solution to crime? "Smart Policing" they called it.    A team of crime analysts would pore through data to spot crime hot-spots and as soon as they identified a trend (car thefts, muggings, liquor store robberies) they could call in police resources to descend on the problem and nip it. The police