Auto theft murals unveiled: Manitoba Public Insurance and Graffiti Gallery team up to deliver anti-theft message

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August, 2006 – Putting paint to brush, and brush to wall, 50 Winnipeg youth are producing a unique anti-auto theft message for their peers – a series of large graffiti murals.

Two colourful murals were unveiled today in Winnipeg, in recognition of Manitoba Auto Theft Awareness Week. The anti-auto theft murals were painted by members of the Graffiti Art program, in partnership with Manitoba Public Insurance.

In total, five murals will be painted by Graffiti Art participants, who range in age from nine to 16. Each mural ? measuring eight by 16 feet (2.4m by 4.8m) – requires the services of 12 youth volunteers, including sketch artist Julia Wake of Winnipeg.

Winnipeg�s two completed murals can be viewed at the Weston Memorial Community Centre (1625 Logan Ave.), and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg (415 Stella Ave.). The other confirmed locations for murals are Go Jo’s Gym (936 Sherbrook St.) and Teen Stop Jeunesse (533 St. Anne’s Road). A fifth location is yet to be confirmed.

�These murals are a visual reminder to everyone, particularly youth, that auto theft is not an activity to become involved in,� said Tim Arnason, Director of Auto Theft Prevention, Manitoba Public Insurance. �Painting these murals is a positive activity for the youth involved, many of whom are exposed to the culture of auto crime.�

Graffiti Art Programming Inc. is a non-profit community youth art center dedicated to working with youth in a positive environment. Production of the murals was made possible by a financial sponsorship from Manitoba Public Insurance. Participating youth were from Weston Memorial Community Centre, Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg, Aberdeen Site, Rossbrook House, Teen Stop Jeunesse and Art City.

Reducing auto theft in Winnipeg and across the province continues to be a high priority for the public insurer, said Arnason. The corporation�s free immobilizer program has attracted nearly 40,000 Manitobans, and 60 per cent of those vehicles are within the most at risk category.

As of Sept. 1, two new anti-theft measures take effect under provincial law:

  • If a most at risk vehicle is stolen, the owner will be required to install an immobilizer in order to remain on the road. Manitoba Public Insurance will provide the immobilizer and pay for a standard installation.

  • The second measure requires immobilizers to be installed in any high-risk vehicle that is being registered in the province for the first time. On average, about 6,000 of these vehicles are brought into Manitoba every year � most for resale.

If a vehicle on the list is being brought into Manitoba by a used car dealer for resale, the dealer will be required to install a free immobilizer immediately or notify potential buyers that an immobilizer is required before the vehicle can be registered and put on the road.

The very few owners moving to Manitoba with high-risk vehicles will also be required to install immobilizers at no cost. They will be given priority appointments so they can protect their vehicles as quickly as possible.

�By reducing auto theft, everyone will benefit by way of lower insurance premiums,� said Arnason. �Last year, auto theft cost Manitoba Public Insurance about $38 million. Approved immobilizers are our most effective prevention tool because they reduce the odds of theft to zero.�

Earlier this year Manitoba Public Insurance applied to the Public Utilities Board for an overall rate reduction of 2.6 per cent. This decrease was based on an anticipated reduction in auto theft claim costs as the result of the public insurer�s free immobilizer campaign.

Heightening public awareness of auto theft is critical in reducing the crime, said Arnason. �Manitoba Auto Theft Awareness Week is an excellent opportunity to promote the importance oft theft proofing vehicles and protecting their contents,� he said.

More information about auto theft, most at risk vehicles and Manitoba Public Insurance�s free immobilizer program can be found online at http://www.mpi.mb.ca.