According to INTERPOL, vehicle crime is a highly organized criminal activity affecting all regions of the whole world and with clear links to organized crime and terrorism. Stolen vehicles are often used in other crime or terrorist activities.
The INTERPOL’s Stolen Motor Vehicle (SMV) database is the most comprehensive tool in the fight against international vehicle theft and trafficking. Police officers in lnterpol member countries can run a suspicious vehicle through this database to check if it has been reported as stolen. This tool has proved to be very effective as a large proportion of vehicles is exported to other countries.
INTERPOL has set up a number of working groups to prevent vehicle crimes. These working groups are involved in organising targeted police training, working with industry and supporting operations in the field.
The Formatrain Project has established a standardized training programme to facilitate investigations into international cases of vehicle theft. INTERPOL’s SMV Task Force regularly provides technical, organizational and human resources to its member countries to assist with the operations related to stolen motor vehicles.
Another way to decrease the number of vehicle crimes is to work with car manufacturers to find new ways of detecting stolen cars. The German car manufacturers Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche have already been involved in the INVEH project in a bid to improve the quality of data between Interpol and the car manufacturers.
According to the EU sources, a large percentage of vehicle crimes is linked to organised crime with cars being smuggled out of the EU. The Council Decision (2004/919/EC) on combating cross-border vehicle crimes requires Member States to enhance mutual cooperation between national competent authorities, to facilitate procedures for a quick repatriation of vehicles seized by the national competent authorities, to designate a contact point for tackling cross-border vehicle crime and to enter stolen vehicles it in the Interpol's database.
The EU Member States can also make use of EUCARIS, the EUropean CAR and driving license Information System. This system enables member countries to share their car and driving licence registration information helping to fight car theft and registration fraud.