Central District Police and Motor Trade Association (MTA) have partnered to implement a project aimed at reducing theft of trailers.
In 2017 nearly 200 trailers were stolen in Central District, which covers Taranaki, Whanganui, Ruapehu and the wider Manawatu.
One of the key drivers behind the number of thefts is that trailers are often left insecure.
“Many people see a trailer as a ”tool” and leave it on their front lawn or up the driveway unlocked and with no security on it," says Inspector Mark Harrison.
Further compounding this problem is the low recovery rate of trailers when they are taken – only a third of trailers stolen are recovered.
“Trailers are easily 'rebirthed' when they are taken. A new registration plate and a coat of paint, and it is very difficult for us to identify them when we do locate them,” says Inspector Harrison.
Police approached MTA regarding this issue and Graeme Swan, MTA's Sector Manager – Repair, accepted the challenge.
Jointly a project has been developed where participating MTA members in Central District will offer trailer owners the opportunity to weld the trailer registration number onto the trailer.
When trailer owners present their trailer at an MTA member for a Warrant of Fitness, they will be provided with advice to prevent trailer theft, and will also have the opportunity to have the registration number welded on to the drawbar of the trailer.
When police staff locate a trailer, or stop a vehicle towing a trailer, this will enable them to identify the trailer via the welded number.
Alternatively, if it is apparent an attempt has been made to remove a welded number, police can inquire further regarding ownership of the trailer.
Trailers will also be marked, to make clear to would-be thieves that the trailer has a welded number, in an attempt to deter theft in the first instance.
Owners will also receive crime prevention advice regarding securing trailers when they are not in use.
“Our members are very excited to be involved with the Police in this project," says Mr Swan.
"Our members are an integral part of their local community and this is a way for us to help people safeguard their property."
The project commenced on 1 December and will be reviewed after six months.
If anyone wants to take advantage of this service, they can find their local MTA member at www.mta.org.nz.