Theft of vehicles is on the rise in Prince George
2022-01-24 09:36 PST
The extreme cold in Prince George brought with it an unfortunate side effect – an increase in auto theft.
Since the beginning of November 2021, vehicle theft has risen by 50% in Prince George. The common theme among these thefts: the vehicles were idling with the keys in the ignition. While the extreme cold temperatures make it tempting to leave your vehicle idling to warm up, without a remote start or other anti-theft device, they become an easy target for theft.
It takes only a few seconds for a thief to gain access to your vehicle and drive away with it. Even if you think you’re only going to be running quickly into the house or a store, that is all the time a thief needs to steal your car, states Cpl. Jennifer Cooper, media spokesperson for the Prince George RCMP.
In addition to vehicle-theft rising, the location of the thefts has shifted. While in 2020 most vehicles were stolen from store parking lots, this year 75% of the vehicles stolen were sitting in residential driveways, and none of the vehicles were left unattended for more than fifteen minutes.
Prince George RCMP and ICBC have some tips to help avoid being a victim of car theft:
- Don’t leave your car running with the keys inside. If you want to preheat your vehicle and can’t do it remotely, please stay inside the vehicle. This crime of opportunity can occur in any neighbourhood, at any time of day.
- Keep track of your keys. Don’t leave your purse/jacket/backpack unattended – even when you’re at work. Thieves are always on the lookout for unattended belongings. Lock up your items in a locker, especially when you no longer have line-of-site on your bags. If you can’t do that, keep your keys in your pocket.
- Lock your car when you leave it. Make sure that all of your doors and windows are locked, as it only takes a few minutes for a car thief to get a vehicle running, even without the keys. Practice the 9 p.m. routine and double check your doors are locked on your car every night, either by physically going to check it or by using your fob.
- Use an anti-theft device. Make sure you set the alarm on your vehicle when you leave it. If your vehicle does not come equipped with an alarm, purchase an after-market anti-theft device like an immobilizer or a steering wheel lock.
Any unsecured vehicle is a target for auto crime, said Doug Mac Donald, local ICBC road safety coordinator.
Also remember to remove any valuables including smartphones, laptops, backpacks and packages.
If you have any information about this or any other criminal offence, please contact the Prince George RCMP at (250)561-3300 or anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at 1(800)222-8477 or online at www.northernbccrimestoppers.ca (English only). You do not have to reveal your identity to Crime Stoppers. If you provide information that leads to an arrest or recovery of stolen property, you could be eligible for a cash reward.
Cpl. Jennifer CooperCommunications NCO / Media Relations Officer
Prince George RCMP
455 Victoria Street, Prince George, BC, V2L 0B7
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