Vehicle break-ins are a “common occurrence,” says a VicPD spokesperson. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

WATCH: Police warn car break-ins are on the rise in Greater Victoria

Residents can ‘take precautions to make their vehicle undesirable,’ says VicPD spokesperson

Thefts from vehicles are on the rise in Greater Victoria and police are encouraging residents to take precautions.

Having your car broken into is unsettling, but it’s a “common experience,” said Bowen Osoko, a spokesperson for VicPD.

He receives daily reports of thefts from cars in Victoria and emphasized that he’s “never seen a day without at least five break-ins.”

Osoko pointed out that while thieves typically target vehicles when it’s dark out, there’s no specific day of the week where more car break-ins occur.

“They’re all thefts of opportunity,” he said.

While the goal is not to blame the victims, Osoko noted that there are things people do that draw thieves to their vehicle.

If a car is unlocked or valuables are left inside, someone can commit the crime in under a minute, he explained, referencing an advisory video VicPD filmed in July where an officer broke a car window and grabbed the valuables from inside in under 20 seconds.

READ ALSO: Victoria man arrested in stolen car with drugs and weapons, tied to break and enter

Thieves are also likely to hit multiple cars, he noted. They pick an area and sometimes work in groups.

Car owners should be locking up and removing valuables to protect themselves and their neighbours as thieves who are successful will likely target other nearby vehicles, Osoko noted. He emphasized the importance of the “9 p.m. ritual”: leave nothing in the car after dark and lock up.

First, they’ll try door handles because it’s easier and less of a risk, Osoko said. Next, they’ll start looking for valuables.

He pointed out that valuables aren’t necessarily things like a laptop or cash, the thief could be looking for a backpack, flashlight or screwdriver – anything that could be useful for the next break in or could be traded for money or drugs.

READ ALSO: Car stolen from View Royal driveway

Prolific thieves have told police that a locked car with no valuables is “not worth the effort” because they’re looking for a “quick win,” Osoko said.

He encourages residents to “think a little bit like a thief.” Don’t assume something isn’t valuable enough to warrant a break-in or that your car is safe in a private underground parking lot.

Osoko emphasized the importance of reporting thefts as well as people trying door handles because it helps police track trends, figure out which neighbourhoods are being targeted and catch prolific offenders.

While these thieves are often caught, they’re likely to re-offend, Osoko noted. Educating the public and providing tips to make their car undesirable is one way police are trying to break the cycle.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Thief nabs $600 worth of tools in break-and-enter at Saanich hardware store

Police department sees a spike in break-and-enters

Victoria police seek public help finding high-risk missing woman last seen on ferry

Mariah Konchak has shoulder-length dark hair, scars above her right eye and may be missing a tooth

Island Health to use Saanich recreation centre to support pandemic needs

Cedar Hill Recreation Centre will be used as a referral-only assessment clinic

Greater Victoria resident sick with COVID-19 calls it a ‘horrible disease’

Tim Boat says he has ‘extreme coughing fits every hour’ to clear his lungs

Tents, sleeping bags donated to Our Place from local Victoria store

Robinson’s Outdoor Store received funds from PwC Canada to make the donation

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Most Read