Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 29th 2015 Contents The T&T Police Service has a dedi-
cated department for investigations
and recovery of stolen vehicles
known as the STOLEN VEHICLES
SQUAD (SVS) located in the CID
Building on St. Vincent Street, Port
of Spain. Most of the vehicles
stolen in the country are involved in
robberies, kidnappings and illegal
auto trade. As a result, recovery of
stolen vehicles can assist in solving
other linked crimes.
According to a source at SVS, there are
over 400,000 thousand vehicles in T&T and
at least 2,000 units are stolen each year. The
most popular models are Nissan and Toyota.
Statistics on stolen vehicles from the depart-
ment reported the Almera at top spot with
60 units being stolen in the first quarter of
2010. This seems to be due to the black mar-
ket demand for spare parts where cars are
stripped and sold to the highest bidder. Not
far behind is the Corolla which (as with
Almera) accounts for a large presence on the
roads. The source revealed, "These vehicles
seem to easily fit in traffic and move to a
new location for stripping or storage virtually
undetected by thieves. There are other vehi-
cles though such as the Nissan B11, B12, B13,
B14, B15 which are commonly reported
stolen. Older vehicles such as the Laurel, 626,
323, Charmant, Cressida, Bluebird have been
in demand due to a shortage of parts such as
fenders, doors, trunks and bonnets. There
are also some garage owners (chop shops)
who have been held in connection with strip-
ping of stolen vehicles."
More statistics reveal a recovery rate of 29
percent by the SVS which is rising over the
last couple of years. The source revealed
that normal duties working in the Police
Service to reduce crime, translates to a very
risky job that people take for granted. The
source said, "We tracked a stolen car from
Barrackpore and ended up in Mayaro. The
bandits were armed but abandoned the car
and fled on foot. Sometimes it can turn
"sticky" in a moment`s notice. We have no-
ticed that bandits are using more weapons in
the act of stealing recently. This may be due
to the fact that many vehicles are using new
technology such as immobilizers, coded igni-
tions and alarm systems as the world
changes. However, some bandits consider
themselves "old school" and still use skeleton
keys, knives, pig foot, screw drivers and ham-
Surprisingly, intelligence from INTERPOL
and Japanese law enforcement led to the dis-
covery of a big stolen car racket within the
T&T foreign used sector in 2007. Many cars
were being shipped to T&T under the guise
of false documents and the SVS had to in-
vestigate a number of cases. Most of the re-
covery areas for local stolen vehicles are
scattered all over T&T but a main zone is
Laventille. Common areas where vehicles are
stolen are malls and car parks but you may
be followed from your own home by thieves
as well. A new trend is the attack on 4x4`s
such as the Ford, Toyota and Nissan models.
SUVs have also become popular such as
Hyundai, Kia and Nissan models.
As the Police Service strives to continue
the fight against crime, the public can assist
the SVS with identification of stolen units
when advertised at Mangra Trace, Aranguez
or Production Avenue, Sea Lots. For further
• Take your keys. Nearly 20% of all vehicles
stolen have the keys in them
• Lock your car. Approximately 50% of all ve-
hicles stolen were left unlocked.
• Never hide a second set of keys in your car.
Extra keys can be easily found.
• Park in well lit areas. Over half of all vehicle
thefts occur at night.
• Park in attended lots. Auto thieves do not
like witnesses and prefer unattended lots.
• Never leave your car running. Even if you
are only gone for a few minutes, vehicles are
commonly stolen at convenience stores, gas
• Completely close car windows when park-
ing. Don`t make it any easier for the thief to
enter your vehicle.
• Always use emergency brake when parking.
Using this brake system makes your car
harder to tow.
• If you have a garage, use it. Take time to
use your garage as compared to parking out-
side where the vehicle is more vulnerable.
• Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Stolen
cars/parts are more easily traced when VIN
numbers have been etched on car windows
and major parts.
• Don't leave valuables in plain view. Don`t
make your car a more desirable target and
attract thieves by leaving valuables in plain
• Use a tracking device. GPS and other track-
ing systems can help you recover your vehicle
faster and disable the engine.
As a motorist, can you
picture driving your vehicle
without Motor Vehicle In-
surance? With the road fa-
tality statistics at worrying
levels and the traffic viola-
tion laws tightened, no mo-
torist would want to get
caught driving a vehicle
Many fear of lawsuits and jail
sentences without proper auto in-
surance coverage. Philip Knaggs,
President of Automotive Dealers
Association of T&T said, "An auto
accident can quickly become a fi-
nancial nightmare. What con-
sumers need is for their vehicles
to be repaired quickly and prop-
erly, with correct parts, by a rep-
utable repair facility. You do not
want to find out, after the acci-
dent, that your policy did not cover
While motorists regard insur-
ance as a form of investment to-
ward keeping your vehicle safe
and sound, Knaggs said he would
not label insurance coverage as an
investment because it is not in-
tended to grow wealth.
Knaggs said, "Insurance cover-
age is designed to protect your
high-valued asset/s in the event of
an accident. This coverage can
often prove to be essential to a
young motorist due to the high
cost of accident repair."
He added that auto insurance is
mandatory for all cars driving on
T&T's roadways therefore, the
motorist, when looking for appro-
priate insurance should start by
choosing "a reputable insurance
Broker or Insurance company."
Knaggs advised, "Sit down with
them, explain your needs and then
listen to their advice. Ask them
Exactly what am I covered for?
What happens if the other vehi-
cle does not have insurance?
What is my "excess"?
What will I have to pay?
Who will repair my vehicle?
Will they use "genuine" parts?
Knaggs warns beware of
"quickly reaching for the most in-
expensive plan available." He said
your insurance plan should be one
that fits "you." He said, "A com-
mon mistake is to opt for a plan
with minimalistic coverage be-
cause you view yourself as a
"safe" driver. Remember that acci-
dents frequently occur due to the
actions of others."
For young drivers he suggested
that they should be accompanied
by an experienced relative or co-
worker when they are meeting
with prospective Broker or insur-
ance company for the first time.
Knaggs said that being accompa-
nied by an experienced person en-
sures that the right questions are
asked and the proper coverage is
"Car insurance is essentially an economic safety net for consumers.
Major car repairs can easily reach into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Since most households exist on a fairly strict budget, there is often no
affordable way to prepare for a major repair bill. Car insurance will pro-
vide you with a way to budget for accidents and will protect you and
your family from an unexpected repair bill that could easily be unaf-
fordable. The "protection" offered by a proper insurance policy be-
comes even more important when the insured vehicle is essential to
the economic livelihood of the family or individual."
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