In support of Auto Crime Enforcement Month, the Surrey RCMP and its partners conducted an auto crime prevention campaign on Saturday, April 1st to enhance community safety and educate the public on ways they can reduce the incidence of thefts from vehicles.
Operation Protect It. Lock It. Keep It. was a joint effort between the Surrey RCMP, Surrey Crime Prevention Society, and ICBC. The campaign involved volunteers educating over 500 community members in the Clayton Crossing and Hillcrest Village shopping areas (Cloverdale) on how to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of auto crime.
“We were pleased to participate in this event which goes a long way in helping residents understand the difference they can make in reducing auto theft,” says Surrey RCMP Community Support and Safety Officer, Inspector Andy LeClair. “Leaving valuables in your vehicle is just an open invitation to criminals – we need to do what we can to not make ourselves easy targets.”
While both thefts from vehicles and thefts of vehicles are on a slight decline this year, auto theft is still an issue in Surrey, with hundreds of incidents reported each year.
Working to combat this crime type, police have recovered over 500 stolen vehicles in the city this year. Volunteers with the Surrey RCMP’s Stolen Auto Recovery program have also checked over 7,000 license plates of parked or moving vehicles to help locate these stolen vehicles. Last year, volunteers located 28 stolen vehicles and 3 have been located so far this year by one keen-eyed volunteer.
Residents can also pitch in by taking some simple steps to reduce auto theft.
“Vehicle crimes are often crimes of opportunity, and officers are still seeing an apparent complacency on behalf of vehicle owners when it comes to safeguarding their vehicle keys,” says Insp. LeClair.
Approximately thirty vehicles a month are being stolen in Surrey simply because owners are being careless with their keys by leaving them in their vehicles or in an area easily accessible by the public.
Here are some tips to help protect your vehicle and belongings:
- Park your vehicle in well-lit areas near pedestrian traffic.
- Keep your garage door opener hidden or take it with you.
- Keep your keys secure at all times. Don’t leave your keys unguarded — even at a restaurant or the gym.
- Always lock your doors and close your windows, even if you’re away from your vehicle for just a minute.
- Remove electronics and valuables including smartphones, GPS and keys. Put anything in the trunk that could tempt a thief— even loose change or empty shopping bags.
- Don’t store your spare or valet key in your vehicle.