April is Auto Crime Enforcement Month. This year, the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT), ICBC and the Vernon North-Okanagan RCMP are asking vehicle owners to avoid tempting criminals.
The theme of Lock it or Looted suggests that if owners are not locking their vehicle doors, they are susceptible to crimes of opportunity.
Auto crime is more than just having your vehicle stolen or broken into. Property crime is largely driven by auto crime and stolen vehicles are often the starting point for further crimes. Preventing auto crime has a positive trickle-down effect reducing other crime in every part of our community.
“Since February 2018, the Vernon North-Okanagan RCMP has seen a significant spike in theft from autos,” said Const. Kelly Brett. “This can be attributed to many different factors; however, the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP are reminding motorists that everyone has a role to play to make it harder for auto thieves and to ensure there are fewer victims of auto crime.”
Brett said what thieves are looking for is opportunity. Vehicle owners are being cautioned to not leave themselves vulnerable to victimization.
The most common items stolen from vehicles include smartphones, personal electronics such as laptops and GPS, work tools, credit cards, identification and documents, cash and change, car parts and accessories, garage door openers, sunglasses and keys.
“Auto crime is not only a distressing and troublesome experience for our customers, but also adds pressure on claims costs,” said Steve Crombie, Vice President responsible for Road Safety at ICBC. “Last year stolen vehicle claims in B.C. cost approximately $50 million and vehicle break-in claims cost another $18 million. Taking thoughtful actions to prevent auto crime not only helps to control claims costs, but will help to make our communities and roads safer.”
In order to keep vehicles safe, Brett said, it requires a conscious effort by the owners.
- Do not leave your vehicle running with the keys in the ignition.
- Park in a locked, secure garage, or a well-lit, high-traffic area.
- Remove unsecured possessions from your vehicle. Anything that might tempt a thief.
- Install an alarm system.
- Always lock your vehicle.