Police action to halt rising number of plate thefts

A police officer holds an anti-theft number plate screw. PICTURE: LACHLAN BENCE

Police have started a fresh campaign to halt the rising number of plate thefts from cars across Wyndham.

As part of Operation Core, to run throughout July, police from the Westgate division will hand out 14,000 “The Thankful Thief – Don’t Hand Them Your Car” flyers, which include crime prevention tips.

Operation Core will run a month after Wyndham council partnered with Victoria Police and local car dealerships in an initiative that will result in all new cars and motorcycles leaving dealerships having number plates attached with one-way screws.

Police will run a Safe Plate day at Bunnings in West Footscray from 10am-2pm on Saturday where drivers can get one-way screws fitted to their plates for a gold coin donation.

Wyndham councillor Peter Gibbons said number plate theft accounted for a large percentage of thefts from motor vehicles in Wyndham. Data from the Crime Statistics Agency reveals that 588 number plates were stolen in 2015. Sergeant Rosa Rossi, of the proactive policing unit, said Wyndham had the highest rate of theft from motor vehicles in the Westgate division, which also includes Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay, in the past three months.

She said Greens Road in Wyndham Vale was a recent hotspot for theft from cars. “We want to educate Wyndham residents to keep their vehicles safe and minimise the chance of theft from those vehicles.”

Sergeant Rossi said number plate theft, in particular, was a big problem in Wyndham with thieves taking number plates and often using the plates to commit other crimes.

In some instances, she said, stolen number plates were replaced with other stolen plates so that drivers were not immediately aware their plates had been taken.