PROVINCE ANNOUNCES MANDATORY IMMOBILIZER PROGRAM TO EXPAND
– – – Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy Extended: Chomiak
Building on the success of the Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy (WATSS),the Manitoba government is expanding the list of vehicles that will require the use of approved anti-theft devices through the mandatory immobilizer program, Attorney General Dave Chomiak, minister responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance, announced today. As well, funding for a critical element of the strategy has been extended for another year.
The WATSS strategy has helped reduce auto theft attempts by 48.6 per cent in the first four months of this year, and actual theft by 39 per cent in the same period.
As of Oct. 1, 100 more types of vehicles will be required to have approved immobilizers before registration and on-road coverage can be renewed. The new list represents about 50,000 vehicles including a number of newer models that have become the targets of thieves in the past year.
“Everyone battling this serious public safety threat is heartened by the tremendous strides we’ve made in the past year, thanks to the immobilizer program and intensive monitoring efforts,” said Chomiak. “By making high-risk vehicles impossible to steal, we take away the weapon that can lead to injury and tragedy in the hands of a reckless thief. It’s that simple.”
The requirement will apply to vehicles only if they are registered for use in Winnipeg, where
80 per cent of thefts occur; are used to commute to Winnipeg; have been the subject of any type of theft claim elsewhere in Manitoba; or are being imported into the province. Manitoba Public Insurance will pay for standard installations of immobilizers in these vehicles, regardless of where in the province they are registered.
To date, more than 100,000 Manitobans have installed approved immobilizers in their vehicles with the assistance of Manitoba Public Insurance. Nearly 47,000 of those vehicles were required to have immobilizers under a provincial regulation announced last year.
The minister also announced that funding for 14 corrections staff who are part of WATSS will be extended an additional year. This unit, funded by MPI, is responsible for intensely supervising and managing the behaviour of high-risk young auto thieves in Winnipeg in partnership with the Winnipeg Police Service.
With the success of the immobilizer program, car thieves have begun to target other vehicles that do not come equipped with approved immobilizers, he added. These vehicles will now be included in the mandatory immobilizer program.
“We are close to putting an end to this epidemic,” Chomiak said. “Much of the credit goes to the Manitobans who have complied with this law and done their part to prevent needless tragedy. With the help of additional owners of vulnerable vehicles, I know we will reach that goal.”
As with the first mandatory immobilizer program, there will be a grace period for installing immobilizers in the early stages of the expanded program.