Monitoring and enforcement
The Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy is a partnership between Manitoba Public Insurance, Manitoba Justice and the Winnipeg Police Service that targets chronic and repeat young offenders. WATSS was designed to clamp down on the theft problem until the use of immobilizers became more widespread.
This strict monitoring and curfew program includes mandatory daily interviews for the worst offenders and if participants fail to comply, the province and police will move immediately to arrest them and seek their incarceration from the courts.
The program has focused on Winnipeg where more than 80 per cent of auto thefts were occurring. As of 2012, thefts in Winnipeg represented 67 per cent of provincial thefts.
Manitoba Public Insurance provides funding to hire corrections staff and cover operating costs on top of existing investments by the Winnipeg Police Service and Manitoba Justice.
Other enforcement programs
To assist law enforcement in their efforts, we also:
- Coordinate the Citizens on Patrol Program (COPP), which mobilizes community volunteers to be additional eyes and ears for local police.
- Provide annual funding to help the Winnipeg Police Service dedicate a team of investigators to auto theft.
- Provide annual funding for Crown prosecutors to ensure that auto thieves are held accountable in the courts.
- Provide additional resources for auto theft investigation in partnership with the RCMP, the City of Brandon Police and other municipal police.
In partnership with shopping malls and parking lot operators, Manitoba Public Insurance has posted over 2,500 signs throughout Manitoba reminding drivers to lock their vehicles, use anti-theft devices and ensure their valuables are out of sight. Every year we also conduct thousands of vehicle audits in parking lots to alert drivers parking in at-risk zones if they have not taken the proper precautions to protect their property.
Recovery from thieves
In some situations, we can obtain judgments against people convicted of auto theft or auto-theft-related offences to recover damages. We enforce the judgments by attaching liens on their assets or garnishing their wages. We can also prevent them from obtaining driver’s licences anywhere in Canada until they begin to repay their debt. In the case of young offenders, we have to wait until the individual turns 18 before obtaining and enforcing the judgment. However, all auto thieves, whether they are young offenders or adults, are pursued vigorously.