The Victoria Police Department is warning residents to carefully store and lock up valuables after finding that break and enter rates in 2020 are double what they were during the same time frame last year.
Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 14, 2019, there were 207 reports of break and enters to underground parkades, residential sheds and storage areas. This year, during the same time period, there have been 414.
VicPD says thieves often break into underground parkades to access the storage lockers and vehicles within. There have been 194 underground parkade break and enters this year, an increase of 57 incidents over last year.
Thieves are the most interested in high-value items such as bicycles, phones, laptops, small appliances and tools, according to VicPD.
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The department recommends photographing and recording the serial number of any valuable items. It also suggests people write their contact info on items so police can more easily return stolen items if they are found. Really valuable items should only be kept in securely locked and lit areas and valuables should never be left in vehicles.
The department says people should make it clear that their property is private (short hedges, fences, or lights) and should report anything suspicious to its non-emergency line at 250-995-7654, extension one.
VicPD offers a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design inspection to anyone interested in learning how to make their property less appealing to thieves.
Worried residents can also look into joining a VicPD Block Watch.
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