Police in B.C. are expanding the highly successful bait car program to target thieves who steal the objects inside automobiles.

Since the bait car program was introduced ten years ago auto theft has drop 73 per cent in B.C. and the program has grown to become the largest of its kind in the world, according to the RCMP.

"With the kind of evidence we're able to put before judges, the program has been tremendously successful at putting car thieves behind bars," RCMP Insp. Gary Shinkaruk said in a statement issued on Thursday.

But police have noticed theft from vehicles was starting to rise, so this year police will be putting traceable items in bait cars, to catch thieves who break into the vehicles simply to steal the items inside.

Top 10 items stolen 

  • Smartphones
  • Personal electronics (such as laptops)
  • Work tools
  • Credit cards and ID
  • Stereo equipment
  • Cash and change
  • Car parts
  • Garage door openers
  • Sunglasses
  • Keys

"Thieves already know, that if they steal a bait car, they’ll go to jail. But there’s a new message we need to get out to thieves now: Steal from a bait car, go to jail," said Shinkaruk.

Police say the bait vehicles have now been equipped with new audio and video equipment and bait property such as tool boxes or gym bags that can be tracked and monitored by police.

The bait car program is run by the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT).

All bait cars in the province are monitored round the clock at E-Comm-9-1-1, the regional emergency communications centre for southwest British Columbia.

B.C.'s top 10 auto theft suspects