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Ballan’s OIC Sgt Michael Kearnes is urging residents to have the screws in their vehicle number plates changed on Saturday 25 March in Ballan. Photo – Helen Tatchell
Ballan’s OIC Sgt Michael Kearnes is urging residents to have the screws in their vehicle number plates changed on Saturday 25 March in Ballan. Photo – Helen Tatchell

By Jessica Howard

As number plate theft in the region continues to rise, local police are urging the community to lock down their plates with one-way screws.

Operation Safe Plate is a program introduced by Victoria Police and their community partners to deter thieves from stealing vehicle registration plates.

The program sees the existing screws attached to vehicles replaced with one-way security screws.

Ballan Police Station’s Officer in Charge, Sgt. Michael Kearnes said number plate theft was one of the biggest volume crime drivers for theft from motor vehicle in the region.

“This crime has a secondary effect contributing to other crimes including theft of fuel from petrol stations, burglaries, thefts and even other thefts of and from motor vehicles,” he said.

“Everybody has a vested interest in reducing crime.  Through simple steps we as a community can make it harder for criminals to commit crimes and thereby prevent offending.

“One of the largest factors in criminal conduct is ‘opportunity’.  By reducing the ‘opportunity’ factor, we can reduce crime generally across many crime themes such as theft, theft of motor vehicles, theft from motor vehicles and burglary”.

Operation Safe Plate will see local SES volunteers provide and insert the theft-resistant screws free of charge, or gold coin donation, at the Moorabool Council offices car park in Ballan on Saturday, March 25.

The event will run from 10am to 1pm.