When out Christmas shopping this month, after parking your vehicle lock your doors and keep any purchases out of plain sight.
That advice was offered by Kelowna RCMP in the wake of a 35 per cent hike in theft from vehicles in November.
The police opened 193 complaint files last month compared to 143 for November in 2014, 95 in 2013 and 156 in 2012.
“It’s a huge issue especially now with people out holiday shopping. We are asking people to be vigilant and lock their parked vehicles and keep any valuables out of sight,” said Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Joe Duncan, noting that in about 25 per cent of car theft reports last month involved vehicles which were not locked.
Another theft crime wave that has seen a significant jump this year is the theft of ATVs and snowmobiles. “The trailers carrying these items are simply being hooked up and pulled away,” Duncan said.
He said trailer security devices can be installed by owners and both ATVs and snowmobiles should be parked away from plain sight in the yard where possible.
Colleen Cornock, community police coordinator for the City of Kelowna and RCMP, said volunteer crime prevention volunteers are now out patrolling potential high vehicle theft crime areas such as shopping centre parking lots to alert the RCMP to suspicious activity.
“We will be out in force until Dec. 23, committing about 400 volunteer hours in well-marked RCMP community police vehicles,” said Cornock, noting the citizen patrol efforts have been carried out in Kelowna for about 20 years.
“Our volunteers are out there looking for suspicious activity but local residents need to help reduce theft from vehicles as well, to not be an easy target. Lock your vehicle doors, keep your valuables out of sight and report any suspicious activity you see around other people’s vehicles to the RCMP. We all need to be alert and aware of our environment.”
If you don’t have room to store your store purchases out of sight, Cornock suggested that shoppers take their items home and then return to continue their shopping.