MPI urges motorists to use common sense to avoid preventable car theft

MPI is encouraging drivers to protect their keys and prevent auto theft. Global News / File

Auto theft in Manitoba may be much lower than it was when Winnipeg was the reigning ‘auto theft capital of Canada’, but Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) thinks those numbers can be reduced even more.

And all it takes is a bit of common sense.

MPI’s Brian Smiley told 680 CJOB Tuesday that vehicles continue to get stolen at a disproportionate rate due to drivers leaving their cars running and unattended.

“There were about 3,200 vehicle thefts last year in Manitoba,” said Smiley.

“Ninety per cent of those vehicle thefts involved the use of keys. Vehicles all have immobilizers in them now, but the immobilizers are only effective if the keys are in the hands of the owner.”

Smiley said the entirely preventable crimes can have a much greater impact than just a motorist being without temporarily without a vehicle.

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“Stolen vehicles are sometimes involved in high-speed police pursuits,” he said.

“That’s extremely dangerous, and potentially can kill innocent people, and it involves vehicles that have been left running by their owners and they were stolen. These are preventable crimes and they continue to exist.”

READ MORE: St. James dumpster man busted for stolen car

MPI’s rates – for all drivers – are potentially impacted by stolen cars as well, especially if those vehicles are eventually written off.

“If we can keep those auto theft numbers down, and not be writing vehicles off, that can keep our rates down.”

The auto theft numbers in 2019 are a far cry from ‘the bad old days’, when, Smiley said, 24 to 30 vehicles were being stolen, on average, every day – but they can easily be reduced as well.

“We’ve certainly reduced those numbers, but the auto theft we’re seeing now is completely preventable if the owners took better care of their keys.”

WATCH: It’s not the what, it’s how: MPI warns of trend in car theft

Click to play video 'It’s not the what, it’s how: MPI warns of trend in car theft' It’s not the what, it’s how: MPI warns of trend in car theft
It’s not the what, it’s how: MPI warns of trend in car theft – Dec 11, 2018

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