Palmerston North Community Patrol co-ordinator Suzanne Hills (right) says it only takes bout three minutes to install the new screws that can prevent plates being stolen (file photo).
Community Patrol is offering car owners the chance to put tamper-proof screws on their license plates as thieves continue to target them for illegal activity.
Number plates are “regularly” stolen and used in petrol drive-offs, burglaries, ram raids and to hide the identity of a vehicle.
Palmerston North Community Patrol co-ordinator Suzanne Hills said the thefts happened a lot so they were encouraging drivers to replace their existing number plate screws with tamper-proof alternatives.
A team of volunteers would be hosting the organisation’s eighth Safer Plates event, with the help of police on May 20, installing screws for a gold coin donation.
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Acting senior sergeant Manawatū Tactical Prevention Team Paul Sheehan said plates were regularly stolen from vehicles, often to be used in dishonesty offending.
”Secure your number plates to your vehicle with anti-theft screws or attend the event and have your screws replaced for you.
“If possible, to prevent theft from vehicles including number plates, park your car inside your property rather than on the street or only park in well-lit and busy locations.”
Hills said if people were concerned about the thefts installing these screws was something easy they could do.
“When we went to first do this initiative eight years ago I did a quick google search.
“One of the first articles that came up was about police finding a house with 14,000 [stolen] plates in it.”
It took thieves just minutes to remove plates, which were not covered by insurance, she said.
“They are a legal document so…if it’s a personalised one you’re looking at a $1000 (to replace).”
Volunteers could install the new screws in under three minutes and a special tool was needed to remove them.
Alison Jarden, who runs Palmerston North’s Neighbourhood Support, gathers weekly statistics of local thefts.
In an email she said police had reported a trend of number plates being stolen.
“It is well worth getting one of these screws and also supporting Community Patrol who put in many voluntary hours patrolling our communities,” Jarden said.
Hills said they were in need of more volunteers and police “appreciated all the help they can get”.
“We’re always looking…it’s not a big commitment. In Palmerston North we only ask for four hours a month.”
Safer Plates will run from 10am until 2pm in the New World Broadway car park on Saturday, May 20.
For those interested in joining Community Patrol, visit cpnz.org.nz.
Correction: This article has been updated to correct the location of the Safer Plates event. (Updated May 15, 9.45am)