The Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce (VACC) has thrown its support behind a new Victoria Police initiative aimed at reducing number plate offences.
Number plates are now the most frequently stolen item from motor vehicles in Victoria, with the dodgy plates used in drug trafficking, ram raids and service station drive-offs.
VACC has joined RACV, Burson Auto Parts, Crime Stoppers and Neighbourhood Watch, along with some repair outlets and service stations, in offering tamper-resistant screws in an effort to combat the crime.
Tamper-resistant screws are designed to be easily tightened, but difficult to remove without a specialised tool.
VACC Executive Director, David Purchase, said that the extra time and effort required by thieves to remove tamper-resistant screws will often motivate them to look elsewhere.
“Number plate theft is a problem in itself and often leads to more serious criminal behaviour,” Mr Purchase said.
“If we can make it as hard as possible for thieves, it will make our homes, streets and communities safer.”
Mr Purchase also said that preventing number plate theft will also save the time, hassle and money motorists spend replacing their stolen plates.
Driving a vehicle without number plates in Victoria can lead to a $144 fine and the loss of three demerit points.
The SAFEPL8 campaign follows a similar campaign announced by the New South Wales government in July, which in itself followed an initial campaign in 2009.
One in 400 vehicles in Sydney will have their number plates stolen according to current statistics, and police plan to distribute the tamper-resistant screws free at known number plate theft hot-spots over the coming months.
Earlier this year it was revealed that service station drive-offs (fuel theft) had risen 150 percent in Queensland and 76 percent in NSW, with stolen number plates being a key ingredient.