Lock your vehicle to secure your valuables

Randi-Maire Adams

The arrival of fall is marked by leaves changing colours and days getting shorter.  Longer nights means more opportunity for property crime to occur under cover of darkness, specifically crimes involving motor vehicles.  The loss or damage to vehicles and the valuables inside, can lead people to feel violated and cause significant and costly inconvenience.  But there are some simple steps the public can take to secure their property and minimize crimes of opportunity.

All too often valuable or important items are left in plain view and people can see what has been left inside.  Whether it be a wallet, tools, a backpack or even a phone charger, the items can become a temptation for passersby.  If the vehicle is not locked, stealing the items or even the vehicle itself, can be as easy as opening a car door and taking it.  

Owners can take proactive steps to secure their vehicles, preventing thefts from occurring:

  • Take the time to remove anything of value that is visible through the windows of your vehicles,
  • Remove the garage door opener to stop thieves from accessing your home,
  • Fully close all your windows,
  • Lock your vehicles doors and activate your alarm system if you have one,
  • Remove or lock up items in your truck box,
  • When possible, park your vehicle in a well lit area or where you can see it,
  • Products such as a steering wheel lock or an alarm system, can provide added security to your vehicle from being stolen when used correctly.

Constable King, of the Fort St John RCMP conducted a night shift project to determine what percentage of vehicles are left unsecured during the night and found a significant percentage of vehicles in specific areas of town, were left unsecured.  Unsecured vehicles often result in frequent files for theft of motor vehicle or theft from motor vehicle. 

"I wanted to find out how many vehicles were left unlocked and try to help reduce police files due to insecure vehicles," said Cst King.  "Once I found the percentage of unsecured vehicles, I wanted to bring awareness to the public and help reduce any kind of loss by reminding them to secure their belongings and vehicles."

Since January 1, 2020, the Fort St John RCMP have had 155 stolen vehicle files, where the vehicle was left unsecured.

With colder weather coming soon, it is common for people to leave their vehicles running in order to warm up.  Locking your vehicle before you leave is important even if it is to run into a convenience store for 2 minutes to grab a coffee before work. 

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