Manitoba Public Insurance reports same Jeep Cherokee targeted 10 times by thieves

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May 24, 2006 — A Winnipeg vehicle holds the dubious distinction of being one of the most-stolen/attempted-stolen vehicles in Manitoba, with 10 thefts or attempts in just six years!

Between 2000 and 2006, the same 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee was stolen on six occasions, with theft attempted four other times. All of the incidents took place within Winnipeg under the same owner.

“An after-market immobilizer would have prevented six thefts,” said Tim Arnason, Director of Auto Theft Prevention Operations for Manitoba Public Insurance. “The dubious record is a glaring example of why Manitoba Public Insurance is now offering no-cost immobilizers to those people who own vehicles in the most-at-risk category.”

Manitoba Public Insurance’s no-cost immobilizer program targets 150 vehicle types that make up the “most-at-risk” group. These vehicles were determined by comparing the frequency of theft for 500 different make/model and year combinations. On average, vehicles in this group have a 1 in 22 chance of being stolen, compared to an average theft risk of 1 in 163 for all other vehicles in the province. The odds of theft are as high as 1 in 8 for some vehicles, such as the Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager, Chrysler Intrepid, and Jeep Grand Cherokee in the 1990-1994 model years.

To be eligible for a no-cost immobilizer, a vehicle must be listed on the corporation’s most-at-risk list and registered in the Winnipeg/Commuter territories, which account for about 84 per cent of thefts in the province. The installation must be completed by September 30, 2006.

The record-setting Jeep Cherokee was not equipped with an immobilizer of any kind, noted Arnason. “These 10 incidents clearly demonstrate why people need to theft-proof their vehicles,” said Arnason. “With the installation of an immobilizer, the odds of this vehicle being stolen drop from one in eight to zero.”

Manitoba Public Insurance strongly encourages vehicle owners to take advantage of its no-cost immobilizer incentive program, which was introduced last month. To date, nearly 7,000 vehicle owners have taken advantage of the no-cost immobilizer program.

A number of myths need to be dispelled with respect to auto theft, said Arnason. “Vehicle owners may think these most-at-risk vehicles just aren’t worth protecting because many are older models. Sadly, it’s clear that old vehicles are the ones thieves know how to steal.

“It’s also important to remember that auto theft is a serious public safety issue. Over the last two years, five people have been killed and nearly 100 injured as the direct result of auto theft.”

To learn more about Manitoba Public Insurance’s immobilizer program, Manitobans can go to www.mpi.mb.ca or call the Autopac Line at 985-7000 (toll-free 1-800-665-2410, deaf access TTY/DDD 985-8832). The line is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Friday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.