By Helen Tatchell
Sadly, it is becoming increasingly popular, and more of a reality, for number plates to be stolen from registered vehicles and used in illegal activity.
Offenders are using stolen plates on stolen or unregistered vehicles to obtain fuel by deception at service stations and then drive off without paying; vehicles with stolen plates are also being used in ram raids and police chases.
How do police and the public stop this from occurring?
Well, prevention is better than cure, so with the combination of Ballan Police, a local business in Ballan and the SES, an invitation is extended to the community to participate in Operation Safe Plate.
Old number plate screws will be replaced with an anti-theft screw, all for the cost of a gold coin donation.
Acting-Sgt Nick Wallace from Ballan police said being vigilant about crime and crime prevention is an ongoing community concern.
“Theft resistance screws help to prevent the theft of registration plates, a significant crime trend in the Moorabool area,” he said.
Springfields Garage in the main street of Ballan is behind the Operation Safe Plate event and will open their doors this Saturday 24 November from 10am-1pm.
Local Moorabool SES volunteers will fit the theft resistance screws to your vehicle’s registration plates for the cost of a gold coin.
In 2004/05, 5,038 petrol drive-off offences occurred in Victoria, that number rose to 7,135 in 2005/06. Thefts reported to police have decreased in 2017/18 to 4,703*, with 77* occurring in Moorabool.
Operation Safe Plate is a Victoria Police and Crimestoppers initiative and was launched in 2006.
*Figures from Crime Statistics Agency