Patrol takes aim at number plate theft

Mosgiel-Taieri Community Patrol member Chris Gouverneur secures a number plate while patrol...
Mosgiel-Taieri Community Patrol member Chris Gouverneur secures a number plate while patrol committee member Valda Gardiner (centre) and Mosgiel Police Community Relations Constable Amie Manning look on. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
Did you know that simply swapping the screws on your vehicle’s number plate for tamper-proof screws could help prevent thieves from making off with it?

The Mosgiel-Taieri Community Patrol is keen to share this simple, yet effective, security measure with local drivers through a Safer Number Plate Screw Day this weekend.

At the event, to be held this Saturday, from 10am-2pm, at the Olympic Gym carpark, off Hartstonge Ave, in Mosgiel, community patrol members will be on hand to swap regular number plate screws for tamper-proof screws to deter theft. No bookings are required, and the cost is $5 per car (cash only).

Patrol member Chris Gouverneur said the quick and simple job could be a game-changer for vehicle owners.

Number plate theft in New Zealand has surged by more than 30% in the past five years, prompting Community Patrols NZ and Police to run the Safer Plates programme, offering tamper-proof screws.

"The tamper-proof screws make it a lot harder for thieves to remove plates from cars," he said.

"So, given the rise in number plate thefts, we felt it was a good time to run another event, to give local people the chance to make sure their number plates are secure," he said.

Mosgiel Police Community Relations Constable Amie Manning said the Safer Number Plate Screw Day was a great initiative by the Mosgiel-Taieri Community Patrol, and would help prevent the theft of number plates.

Mrs Gardiner said the community patrol had run a similar event in 2015, which had proved very popular, and was hoping for another strong turnout on Saturday.

"The event is open to anybody with a car. We would love to see you," she said.

Founded in 2009, the Mosgiel-Taieri Community Patrol has 19 volunteers who go out in vehicles on Fridays, Saturdays, and at other times as required, to be the "eyes and ears of the community".

Patrollers report suspicious activity to the police, and also carry traffic signage and other equipment to provide assistance at accident sites or incidents.

Mrs Gardiner said the patrol maintained close contact with the police, and would cover areas that they were requested to.

"It is all about keeping the community safer."

The Mosgiel-Taieri Community Patrol receives no government funding, but is well supported by local businesses, and is working towards raising funds for a new vehicle.