WA Police are using “bait cars” to deter car thieves, police spokesman Neil Stanbury says.
Mr Stanbury said police had teamed with the RAC to trial “bait cars” in “high risk areas” – a police tactic used in the United States, Canada and other states in Australia.
The operation will run in the lead-up to Perth’s summer season.
The vehicles are fitted with tiny cameras and special technology that allows police to disable the cars remotely and lock the doors once stolen.
“It really is about deterrence rather than about actually catching offenders” Mr Stanbury said.
“One of the most powerful aspects of this initiative is – anyone thinking about stealing a car or stealing from a car, simply doesn’t know if the car that they’re targeting is a bait car,” he said.
Mr Stanbury said many motorists were not heeding warnings about leaving valuables in cars.
“Really, the big issue is – if you leave things in your car you’re very foolish,” he said.
Mr Stanbury said police hoped the operation would help educate and raise awareness about car thefts in the community.
But he said the tactic was not without criticism, with concerns raised about the legalities of whether the stings can be classified as entrapment.
“The successes we’ve had in court prove that (it is not in entrapment),” he said.
“They walk up to the car, they break into the car…we haven’t entrapped people- they’ve entrapped themselves.”