Police have launched a new website, allowing users to check – for free – whether a car has been stolen.
They say they hope it will help prevent vehicles being stolen in the first place.
Twenty-thousand vehicles are stolen in New Zealand each year, many are never recovered. Now, a new online police database allows anyone to instantly search a car’s registration number, VIN, engine or chassis number and check whether the car has been stolen in the last six months.
Deputy Commissioner Mike Bush hopes it will help deter thieves.
"People who steal vehicles will actually know that the public will be able to find out very quickly whether those vehicles are stolen," he says.
The database will be a resource for insurance companies, scrap dealers, police, the public and security guards, who say they will use it for identifying vehicles acting suspiciously.
It is accessed via the police website and has been welcomed by the insurance industry.
"Stolen vehicles cost the insurance industry over $80 million a year and if insurers can see a reduction in that, it would be extremely good news," says Insurance Council spokesman Terry Jordan.
Asked about privacy concerns, Mr Bush says people’s right not to have their vehicle stolen, "outweighs the privacy issues on this".
A smartphone application for the database is also being developed.
Police say there will now be more pairs of eyes looking out for stolen cars and the risk of being caught has risen considerably.
Source: 3News New Zealand