TMR Team | Nov 30, 2012

Victoria Police will launch a new task force targeting organised crime groups involved in the theft of cars in North Western Melbourne suburbs.

The news follows the release of statistics this week that reveal a 7.6 percent increase in vehicle theft across the state.

The North Western metro region accounts for a huge 51 percent of the state's 16,002 car thefts this year, with 8133 vehicles stolen in the region.

Dubbed Task Force Rio, the operation will also focus on identifying tactics used to profit from stolen cars.

“Whilst we recover many stolen vehicles, organised crime motivated by profit appears to be the reasoning behind the vehicles that are not being recovered," Commander Jeff Forti said.

“We believe these groups are re-birthing vehicles, trading second hand vehicle parts and selling the rest for scrap metal."

“The average length of time it is taking police to recover stolen cars is going up which suggests that we are not dealing with joy riders – we are dealing with criminals making money and generating profits from these crimes.”

The task force will go into operation in the coming weeks, as the holiday season begins.