Police advise people to lock their vehicles, remove valuables from vehicles and park in well-travelled areas. (Black Press Media file photo)

Police advise people to lock their vehicles, remove valuables from vehicles and park in well-travelled areas. (Black Press Media file photo)

VicPD volunteers check more than 16,000 vehicles in effort to stop thefts

Police report increase in theft from vehicle reports in last six months

From mid-June to early November of this year Victoria Police Crime Watch volunteers conducted checks on 16,757 vehicles in Victoria and Esquimalt as part of a combined effort to combat an increase in thefts of valuables from vehicles.

“Prolific property thieves will spot valuables left in a vehicle, whether it be a cell phone, change in a cup holder or a laptop left under a jacket in the back seat. They’ll smash a window in seconds,” said VicPD Const. Matt Rutherford. “By reminding people to take their valuables with them, our Crime Watch volunteers are an invaluable resource in helping stop these crimes before they can occur.”

READ ALSO: Victoria Police see 45 per cent increase in thefts from cars since last year

VicPD, supported by ICBC, uses a program called Lock Out Auto Crime to help lessen the number of thefts from vehicles. VicPD Reserve constables and Crime Watch volunteers patrol and leave notices on vehicles, reminding owners to lock up and leave valuables out of sight.

According to police, there has been an increase in theft from vehicle reports over the last six months so volunteer responses to heavily hit neighbourhoods has been a key tactic to reduce these crimes.

“Our Crime Watch volunteers take real pride in the work they are doing to help keep Victoria and Esquimalt safe, and rightfully so,” said volunteer program coordinator Tara Gilroy-Scott. “Our volunteers give their time and talents to help augment our ranks and are a cornerstone of our combined response to crime trends.”

READ ALSO: Oak Bay vehicle thefts triple in 2018

Some tips from VicPD to prevent auto crime:

– Park in a safe spot in well-travelled, well-lit areas.

– Secure your car by locking it, rolling up the windows, closing the sunroof and not leaving the spare key in the vehicle.

– Remove valuables like electronics, change or keys; conceal garage door openers and put items you can’t take with you in the trunk.

– Use an anti-theft device like steering wheel locks and activate the vehicle’s alarm if it has one.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


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