03/08/2012 06:32 EST | Updated 05/08/2012 05:12 EDT

Bait cars still driving down auto theft

Vehicle thefts were down more than 20 per cent in 2011 in B.C., continuing a trend since the bait car program was introduced in the province 10 years ago, police say.

The Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) released figures Thursday showing that about 7,000 vehicles were stolen in the province in 2011 — about 20 per day — down from 9,000 for the year in 2010.

About 70 vehicles a day, a total of 26,000, were stolen in B.C. in 2003, one year after bait cars and trucks were first put on the streets.

The bait fleet has now expanded to include ATVs, snowmobiles, various watercraft, motorcycles and manufactured trailers, IMPACT spokesman Sgt. Gord Elias said Thursday.