News Local

Strathmore RCMP initiative a response to car thefts

By Monique Massiah, Strathmore Standard

RCMP Logo. (RCMP Handout)

RCMP Logo. (RCMP Handout)

An upsurge in vehicle thefts has prompted the Strathmore RCMP to remind the public to keep their cars locked and to remove valuables from within them this month.

 

Lock your doors say local police.

“Honestly that is probably the best thing that they can do. It’s very rare that someone smashes a window to steal a vehicle. The majority of the time, vehicles are unlocked and lots of times there are keys inside of it,” said Strathmore RCMP Cst. Shannon White.

White explained that criminals will keep trying vehicle after vehicle until they find one that’s unlocked.

“It’s just a crime of opportunity and they will keep trying until they hit the right vehicle,” she said.

“It’s not just Strathmore and area,” said White. “I think this is a widespread area of auto theft being on the rise and we are just looking at ways of how we can combat it and how we can help educate the public in protecting their property as well,” she said. Most vehicles are being stolen from midnight to 6 a.m., according to RCMP.

Help protect your vehicle by following the RCMP’s list of things to do.

What to do:

Report suspicious people and/or vehicles to your local police.

Get to know your neighbours as no one knows their neighbourhood better than those who live in it. Residents are also able to identify unknown persons, or vehicles that do not belong in their area. Treat your vehicle keys like cash, keep them with you or in a secure location.

Do not leave a spare key hidden in the vehicle as offenders know all the hiding spots. Never leave your vehicle unlocked and running even if it’s just outside your residence or you are running into a store for only a few minutes. Offenders will take advantage of the opportunity. Always secure your vehicle and never leave valuables or personal effects inside.

Use your garage to park your vehicle. If you can’t park in your garage, secure you vehicle and remove the garage door opener. Always park in secure well-lit areas. Surveillance equipment and home security systems can be used as a deterrent to offenders. Install anti-theft devices on your vehicles.

Never follow or chase an offender as this can lead to the offender driving recklessly and dangerously, posing a serious risk to the public.

The facts:

Strathmore and the surrounding area has had an increase in the rate of theft of motor vehicles. Thefts of motor vehicles are occurring all days of the week.

Thefts of motor vehicles were highest between midnight and 6 a.m. Over half of the vehicles stolen were trucks and of those, Ford F Series were the most commonly stolen. Many of the vehicles stolen were left unlocked with the keys in the vehicle.

Several offenders arrested in possession of the stolen vehicles are from the City of Calgary indicative of crime spillover from a major urban centre.

Offenders will steal vehicles to sell, for transportation, or to commit other crimes.