In 2004, about 29 vehicles were stolen every day in Manitoba and more than 80 per cent of the thefts were in Winnipeg. This cost Manitobans roughly $43 million in insurance claims.
The Winnipeg Police Service reports that in 2012, the average number of vehicles stolen daily was 3.8, approximately one-sixth the number stolen in 2004, when an average of 29 vehicles were stolen every day.
This dramatic improvement is due to the outstanding success of Manitoba’s approach – a multi-agency, multi-pronged strategy to curtail auto theft. This approach was based on:
- Immobilizer laws and incentives to protect high-risk vehicles, including the Immobilizer Incentive Program.
- Monitoring and enforcement to bring the theft rate under control, including the Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy.
- Prevention awareness and support for programs that encourage young people to stay away from auto theft.
Immobilizer laws and incentives
In 2005, Manitoba Public Insurance announced a bold new plan to theft proof up to 90 per cent of Winnipeg vehicles within five year. The program rewards vehicle owners who helped to reduce auto theft in Manitoba by protecting their vehicles with approved immobilizers.
In April 2006, we started offering immobilizers at no cost to owners of Most-at-Risk vehicles—an extreme move in response to an extreme problem. Our efforts were aided when the provincial government introduced a regulation requiring immobilizers be installed in vehicles that were last registered outside of the province.
Approved immobilizers became mandatory for Most-at-Risk vehicles under Manitoba law in September 2007.
Properly installed, approved immobilizers disable three electrical systems, making the vehicle almost impossible to steal without the owner’s special transponder, which may be located in a fob or right in the key. In Canada and around the world, immobilizers have proven to be the surest, fastest and simplest way to bring auto theft under control.
Under the Immobilizer Incentive Program, Manitoba Public Insurance will pay the entire cost of a standard aftermarket installation for any Most-at-Risk vehicle. The owner is only responsible for any additional costs for work related to the installation, and financing for these costs is available with no interest.
Other vehicle owners are also eligible for financial assistance.
After the immobilizer is installed, the owner receives an annual insurance discount immediately and every year afterward.
Find out more about the immobilizer assistance program and whether your vehicle needs an immobilizer.
The provincial regulation came into effect at the same time as new Transport Canada regulations that require all vehicles manufactured for sale in Canada after September 1, 2007 to have an immobilizer as standard equipment.
The federal and provincial strategies work together to reduce auto theft in Manitoba. While the federal strategy protects newer vehicles with factory installed immobilizers, the provincial strategy uses aftermarket immobilizers to protect older vehicles.
A few years ago, few Manitobans could describe what an immobilizer was or how it worked. Today more than 80 per cent know it’s the most effective protection against theft.