Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lock it, hide them, keep them

Prince Rupert RCMP are dedicating themselves this summer to take away crimes of opportunity from those that have less than honest ways about them.

One of the key parts of their approach will be to remind car owners that part of the onus is on them to safeguard their car and valuables.

They are reminding car owners to hide their valuables out of sight in their vehicles, or take them with them when they leave and to make sure that the doors are locked and the windows rolled up to remove any temptation.

Members of the Community Policing section and the Auxiliary program will be working in the prime parking areas of the city to observe and determine the security of vehicles in those locations.

The full details of the program and what the RCMP hope to achieve from it were in Wednesday's Daily News.

Drivers urged to help put brakes on car crime
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Pages one and three

Prince Rupert has experienced a rise in the number of thefts from parked vehicles in recent months, and the local RCMP is taking a proactive approach to remedy the problem.

Members of the Prince Rupert RCMP have been out in the community doing their part to combat so-called crimes of opportunity, with a focus on reminding citizens of the simple steps they can take to avoid becoming victims of theft.

"Next time you park, look inside your vehicle to see what tempting items you have left behind in plain sight," said Const. Krista Vrolyk, community policing officer with the Prince Rupert RCMP.

"Loose change, shopping bags, sports and electronic equipment can make your vehicle an easy target, and closing your windows and locking your doors is the first step in prevention."
Vrolyk said the majority of thefts from cars in the community happens as a result of people not securing their vehicles before leaving them in parking lots or at the side of the road.

Dubbed the "Lock It or Lose It Program," members of the Prince Rupert RCMP's Community Policing Section, Crime Reduction Unit and the Auxiliary Constable Program will be targeting prime parking areas in the community and delivering friendly reminders to motorists regarding the importance of securing their valuables before leaving their vehicles.

As part of the program, officers will observe parked vehicles and determine their security based on a checklist of precautionary measures that motorists should be using, and they will be leaving Crime Prevention Notices on the vehicles for owners to review.

One statistic motorists may be surprised to learn is that auto crime claim costs in British Columbia total more than $150 million per year, while lost time, property replacement, vehicle rental and insurance deductibles add even more to that total.

Some of the key ways residents can avoid becoming a part of that statistic include taking keys and garage door openers out of their vehicles, locking the doors and closing the windows, setting the vehicle alarm - if it has one, and putting any and all valuable items out of sight or removing them from the vehicle altogether.

Police also recommend that drivers park their vehicles in well-lit and high-traffic areas if they are leaving their vehicle overnight, and officers urge people to be good citizens and report suspicious people hanging around parked vehicles to the police.

"Vehicles which are left unlocked are an invitation for criminal activity," said Vrolyk.

"Leaving valuables such as wallets, purses, electronic equipment and loose change in plain sight places you at unnecessary risk for property crime."

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