Jon Schubert may be top dog at the province’s auto insurance corporation, but that doesn’t make him impervious to the problems every car owner faces—specifically, auto theft.
“I once had my vehicle stolen…and you feel violated,” said ICBC’s president and chief executive officer, recalling the strangeness that came from seeing a hypodermic needle in the back seat of his car, once it was recovered.
“I was really angry.”
It’s a feeling, and a hefty cost, he says, ICBC wants to put an end to and it should be easier with Operation Lock Up, a program the insurance agency, along with RCMP, introduced Thursday in Kelowna,
Focusing on high theft risk vehicles—pre-2001 Plymouth/Dodge Rams, Chevrolet/GMC 1500 to 3500s, Plymouth/Dodge Caravans and Voyageurs, and Honda Civics—the insurance agency is getting proactive.
Owners of those vehicles will receive a voucher for a free steering wheel lock, as well as prevention tips on actions they can take to protect their vehicle from theft.
Those who get to local policing centres early can also get a free steering wheel lock, while supplies last.
“This is truly an integrated effort that brings the community together to promote safer neighbourhoods,” said Schubert, talking about the program that will allow ICBC customers to protect their own vehicles from theft.
From 2003 to 2010, Kelowna’s auto theft numbers dropped from 520 to 400, but a concerted effort to reduce the incentive to steal could go a long way to improving the numbers more.
Already there’s one ready to take on the task.
Kelowna resident Danielle Robinson has a pre-2001 Honda Civic, and was the recipient of a new, yellow CLUB this afternoon.
“It will take getting used to,” she remarked, noting that it was something she was willing to do.
It was also remarkably simple to use, she added.
While the CLUB and other anti-theft devices of its kind are far from new technology, Const. Steve Holmes said he’d go so far as to recommend them for cars that have even more advanced anti-theft measures installed.
They offer a visible deterrent to crime, but only when used.
“An anti-theft device on your front seat makes as much sense as a helmet on your elbow,” he said.
To get the anti-theft promotion, go to:
• Glenmore Community Policing Office, 105 – 1014 Glenmore Dr.
• Mission Community Policing Office, 4065 Lakeshore Dr.
• Rutland Community Policing Office, 115 McIntosh Rd.
For tips on how to protect your vehicle from thieves, visit icbc.com.