03/06/2013 01:09 EST | Updated 05/05/2013 05:12 EDT

Car thefts drop significantly in Vancouver

The number of cars reported stolen in Vancouver have significantly dropped over the last decade, according to police.

More than 6,000 vehicles were reported stolen in 2003, compared to 1,200 vehicles last year.

"We average about three stolen cars reported in Vancouver every day. That's down from 10 years ago, where we used to have almost 18 cars reported stolen each and every day," said Const. Brian Montague.

Newer cars are equipped with alarms and anti-theft devices. But police say if you drive an older vehicle, it's more likely your car will be stolen.

Police say older cars are almost always used for crime. Many of the cars listed in ICBC's list of most stolen vehicles are older models.

"They're being used as a means [by] the criminal to get from A to B to get away from their crime," Montague said.

Police are asking people to invest in alarm systems, lock their doors and park in well-lit areas.

Three car thieves nabbed within 24 hours

Over the weekend, within a span of 24 hours, Vancouver police officers arrested three alleged car thieves.

The first incident occurred on Sunday just before 3 a.m. PT, when patrol officers spotted an older-model Toyota Land Cruiser on Boundary Road near 24th Avenue.

The SUV had been reported stolen and officers later arrested the driver without incident.

A 39-year-old Gibsons man was charged with theft and possession of stolen property.

The second incident also occurred on Sunday, this time at around 5:30 p.m. PT. A man entered a liquor store in the 5500 block of West Boulevard and allegedly stole a bottle of alcohol.

The store clerk chased the man and stopped him from getting into an unoccupied Honda Civic.

The Honda had been stolen from an East Vancouver neighbourhood seven days earlier, police said.

Officers arrested the 35-year-old suspect a few blocks from the liquor store, and he was later charged with possession of stolen property.

The third incident happened at around 4 a.m. PT Monday, when police followed a stolen truck driving east on Highway 1 through the Cassiar Tunnel.

The pickup truck eventually crashed into a hedge on Karrman Avenue near Cumberland Street, and the driver tried to flee on foot. He was quickly captured by a Vancouver police dog and taken to hospital for minor injuries he received.