Preventing theft from and of vehicles
Vehicle theft can occur in any neighbourhood, at any time of day. Common reasons for the thefts include the age of the vehicles involved, with many of them being early 2000 model vehicles, as well as drivers leaving their keys inside the vehicle.
The 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.
Avoid the following practices
Leaving any property in your vehicle. If you do this, it may be gone when you return later. Thieves will break in for as little as a few coins or a cigarette lighter. Typical items stolen from vehicles include purses, wallets, credit cards, GPS units, passports, house keys, cash, clothing and sunglasses.
Leaving any personal identification in an unattended vehicle. This includes a driver’s licence, financial documents, credit/debit information or any mail that could identify who you are. You could become a victim of identity theft.
Leaving your car running with the keys inside. If you want to cool or warm up your vehicle and can’t do it remotely, stay inside the vehicle. If you are running quick errands, shut off your vehicle and take the keys with you.
Keeping 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.
Keeping your garage door opener in your vehicle along with any identifying information. This could result in leading the suspects directly to your residence.
If you absolutely must leave items in your vehicle, secure them in the trunk. Many thieves routinely check the glove box and under the seat for hidden items.
Often, the thieves are only taking identification and credit cards from purses, but leave the purse behind. The owner may not realize a theft has occurred until much later. Once armed with a few cards, thieves are then able to 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.
Security measures to protect your vehicle
Invest in a good anti-theft device, particularly a passive immobilizer. Use a steering wheel lock every time you park your vehicle. Make sure you set the alarm on your vehicle when you leave it.
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. Instead, choose a nearby intersection. This prevents the suspects from knowing exactly where you live.
Lock your car when you leave it. Make sure that all of your doors and windows are locked. It only takes a few minutes for a thief to get a vehicle running, even without the keys. Double check your doors are locked on your car every night, either by physically going to check it, or by using your fob.
Parking your vehicle
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.
If you have a garage, use it all the time when parking at home.
Other good practices
- Keep track of your keys. Do not leave your purse, jacket, or backpack unattended, even when you're at work. Thieves are always looking for unattended belongings. Lock up your items in a locker, or keep your keys in your pocket.
- Always wait for an automatic gate to close behind you when entering or leaving a controlled parking area.
- 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.
- When fueling your vehicle, ensure that you have your vehicle's key with you at all times. Lock your vehicle when you go in to pay.
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.
Reporting all theft
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.
The Online Crime Reporting tool is also available to report crimes that meet certain criteria.
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