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IP: Tracking: Bar Codes/Elec.Tags for License Plates

From: [email protected]
Subject: IP: Tracking: Bar Codes/Elec.Tags for License Plates
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 11:28:20 -0500
To: [email protected]

Source:  London Telegraph

Car tagging may help cut theft, says minister
 By Andrew Sparrow, Political Correspondent 

 CAR number plates could be fitted with bar codes or electronic tags in a
move to cut crime.

 Alun Michael, a Home Office minister, said it was "odd" that while
consumer goods such as whisky bottles could be tagged, valuable items like
cars were not dealt with in the same way.

 Tagging is being considered as one option that could help the Government
hit its target of reducing car crime by 30 per cent over the next five
years. Mr Michael said the Government's Vehicle Crime Reduction Action
Team, which includes ministers, police officers and car manufacturers, was
examining the practicalities of improving security features on cars.

 The Government would also improve security at car parks, where more than
30 per cent of all auto crime occurred. Cars left in car parks were 200
times more likely to be stolen or broken into than those garaged at home,
Mr Michael told an Association of Chief Police Officers car crime
conference. Yet car parks that had improved their security had seen
break-ins fall by an average of 70 per cent.

 Mr Michael said the action team would also encourage owners of older cars
to make them harder to steal. A car registered in 1985 was 14 times more
likely to be taken than a new car. Manufacturers will be urged to make
their products more theft-proof. Mr Michael said innovations that the
Government would like to see introduced as standard included toughened
glass windows to ward off opportunist thieves stealing stereos and handbags
from vehicles.

 Delegates heard that commonly quoted statistics placing Britain at the
head of the European vehicle theft league might be misleading. Elaine
Hardy, of the International Car Distribution Programme, said that while
figures showed vehicle theft in England and Wales to be roughly double the
European average as a percentage of the number of vehicles on the roads,
definitions of car theft varied enormously.

 For example, she said, in the Netherlands a vehicle was listed merely as
"missing" until it had been gone for more than a month. In other countries,
cars recovered within 90 days were wiped from the figures. The true story
could be that domestic statistics were roughly comparable to others in Europe.

 Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 1998. 
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