Protect yourself against auto theft
2017-05-04 08:31 PDT
File # 2017
Stolen vehicles are often used in the commission of other offences such as property crime and drug related offences.
Between January 1st and April 30th, 2017, West Shore RCMP received 36 reports of auto theft. To put these reports in perspective:
- 23 completed thefts, including 7 thefts where keys were used to seal vehicles;
- 13 attempted thefts (ignition damage);
- 14 of the 36 targeted vehicles had security measures (alarm, immobilizer, locked doors etc.);
- Honda and Ford products were the most sought vehicles by thieves.
We routinely issue news releases requesting the public’s assistance in helping us solve crime because we know that there are people in the community who know who is responsible for those crimes. We need those individuals to come forward and help us target the small group of individuals who are responsible for the majority of our crimes, states Cpl. Bob Pilot of the West Shore RCMP Crime Reduction Unit.
West Shore RCMP would like to provide the public with the following tips and best practices in an attempt to prevent theft of Motor Vehicles or Theft from Motor Vehicles.
- Do not leave any property in your vehicle or expect to find it gone when you return later. Thieves will break in for as little as a few coins or a cigarette lighter. If you absolutely must leave items in your vehicle, secure them in the trunk as many thieves routinely check the glove box and under the seat for hidden items. Typical items stolen from vehicles include purses, wallets, credit cards, GPS units, passports, house keys, cash, clothing and sunglasses.
- Do not leave any personal identification in an unattended vehicle or you could become a victim of identity theft. (includes drivers licence, financial documents, credit/debit information or any mail that could identify who you are) Often, the thieves are taking only identification and credit cards from purses, but leave the purse behind and the owner may not realize a theft has occurred until much later. Once armed with a few cards, thieves are able to then apply for, and receive loans in your name, additional credit cards, and cash advances. If you don’t notice the theft for a number of days, the damage done could be extensive.
- Invest in a good anti-theft device, particularly a passive immobilizer. Use a steering wheel lock every time you park your vehicle.
- Secure your licence plates with bolts – Criminals commonly steal licence plates and use them to avoid being identified while committing other crimes.
- Do not set the 'Home' function on your GPS device to your home address, but rather to a nearby intersection, thereby not allowing the suspects to know exactly where you live.
- Do not keep your garage door opener in your vehicle along with any identifying information as this could result in directing the suspects directly to your residence.
- If you have a garage, use it all the time when parking at home.
- Always wait for an automatic gate to close behind you when entering or leaving a controlled parking area.
- Do not keep spare keys to your vehicle in the vehicle. Police see this happen all the time. What would have been the theft of some change in the ashtray, turns into a theft of a vehicle.
- If you see any suspicious persons or activities near a vehicle, call the police immediately. Report suspicious activity while it is happening – Try to get a description of the suspects and their vehicle (including licence plate). Do not confront the suspects. Let the police determine if it’s a crime in progress.
- People often fail to report suspicious activity while it is occurring because they don’t want to be embarrassed if their suspicions are unfounded. The police prefer that you call in suspicious activity so it can be investigated, resulting in criminals being apprehended and further criminal acts prevented.
- Park in open, visible areas. Avoid parking behind fences and hedges.
- At home, light your driveway at night. Elsewhere, park in well lit areas near pedestrian traffic.
- Record the serial numbers of all items of value. The serial number is the best way police have of tracking property and returning it to the rightful owner.
If you have any information about auto theft, please contact the West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264 or anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, online www.victoriacrimestoppers.ca. You do not have to reveal your identity to Crime Stoppers. If you provide information that leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward.
Cst. Alex BérubéMedia Relations Officer
West Shore RCMP
698 Atkins Avenue, Victoria, BC V9B 3A4
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