January 27, 1999
The State Government today urged all Western Australians to help stop car theft and create a SAFER WA by purchasing and installing a vehicle immobiliser.
Last year more than 17,000 cars were stolen in Western Australia, making it the second highest level of car theft in Australia.
"The fact is, every stolen car on our roads is a deadly weapon which can easily claim lives and cause extensive damage within the community," Police Minister Kevin Prince said.
"We want the community to join forces with the Government and share the responsibility of making this State a safer, more secure and pleasant place to live in by installing an immobiliser."
Mr Prince and Transport Minister Murray Criddle today launched the second-phase of the State Government's SAFER WA Immobiliser campaign.
"Over the past 20 months, more than 69,000 car owners in WA have had immobilisers installed but we know there are more than 1.6 million registered vehicles in this State - we want to substantially boost the number of vehicles fitted with immobilisers as part of this campaign," Mr Criddle said.
"As an incentive, from February 1 the current Government subsidy available to car owners who install and fit Government-approved immobilisers will increase from $30 to $40.
"This means that an approved immobiliser can now be purchased and fitted for around $80."
Mr Prince said most car thefts in WA were carried out by opportunistic, and often young criminals for joy-riding and were used to commit other crimes like bag-snatching, burglaries, robberies and ram-raids.
"Many people were hurt, maybe someone lost their life and certainly a significant amount of property was damaged as a result of car theft offences last year," the Minister said.
"But if the owners had installed a Government-approved immobiliser, it is highly likely the impact on the community would have been significantly less."
Mr Criddle said the facts showed that car theft can be stopped - not one vehicle in WA fitted with a Government-approved immobiliser had been stolen by being driven away.
The State Government will make vehicle immobilisers compulsory on July 1.
The new law will apply to all car owners applying to register or transfer family, commercial, corporate or trade vehicles weighing 3,000kg or under, and with a manufacturer's gross vehicle mass of 4,500kg or less. Vintage vehicles and those over 25 years old will be exempt.
Mr Criddle said a portable display would tour the State to promote the immobiliser message and a media campaign, featuring newspaper and radio advertisements, would start on January 30.
A telephone help line is now available to assist the public who have any questions about immobilisers and the new law - the number is 13 11 56.
The Government intends the immobiliser campaign to be one of SAFER WA's most important and successful initiatives.
"SAFER WA is all about dealing with law and order issues in our State by developing strategies at the grass roots level, to fight crime," Mr Prince said.
"SAFER WA is assisting Western Australians to do something about protecting their families and property and help reduce crime and improve everyone's quality of life."
Media contact: Doug Cunningham 9 321 7333/Kirsten Stoney 9 220 5000
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kevin Prince (left) and Minister for Transport Murray Criddle at the Safer WA launch urging the public to use vehicle immobilisers.