DAWSON CREEK, BC -- The Dawson Creek RCMP are offering free steering wheel locks to motorists in order to curb car theft.

Police are launching a new initiative with ICBC to in order protect older model vehicles in the area. Residents with pre-2008 vehicles without an anti-theft device can get a free steering wheel lock, while supplies last, by bringing proof of valid B.C. insurance to the Dawson Creek RCMP Detachment.

“We’re working to bring down auto theft rates, but older model vehicles are still being targeted,” said Sgt Jaime Moffat Detachment Commander, Dawson Creek RCMP.” We’re distributing free steering wheel locks to help address these thefts in our community. Steering wheel locks are the most cost-effective tool we have to prevent the theft of vehicles without immobilizers.”

“Thieves are constantly looking for any opportunity so we’re asking everyone to be vigilant and proactive in protecting their vehicles,” said Doug Mac Donald, road safety and community coordinator for northern B.C. “Many older vehicles don't have immobilizers or other anti-theft devices, which makes them prime targets for thieves. We want to help protect our customers in Dawson Creek by providing free steering wheel locks to prevent these thefts.”

Tips for preventing auto crime:

• Use a remote start, if possible, so you can start your vehicle without the risk of theft.

• If idling your vehicle to keep it warm, don’t leave it unattended with the keys inside.

• Treat your keys like cash. Never leave your keys unguarded, such as at the gym or at work.

• Park in secure, well-lit areas. Always lock your doors and close the windows, even if you’re only away from your vehicle for a few minutes.

• Remove valuables from your vehicle. Shopping bags, tools, spare change, electronics, and bags can all tempt a thief. If it can be stolen, put it in the trunk.

• Wait for garage door gates to close behind you.

• Keep your garage door opener out of sight. Store your garage door remote in a glove box or other concealed place, or take it with you.

• Use an electronic engine immobilizer or steering wheel lock. Additional anti-theft devices can help secure your vehicle, particularly if it was manufactured before 2007.

If you notice anything suspicious or spot a potential stolen vehicle, contact the Dawson Creek RCMP at 250-784-3700.