REGINA – Don’t leave your vehicle unlocked, and don’t leave your keys inside it when unattended. It seems like common sense, but people doing the opposite is a factor in 60 per cent of vehicle thefts according to police.
This is why the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police (SACP) are partnering with the RCMP, the province, SGI, and city police across the province to launch a campaign aimed at driving down auto thefts.
In addition to pamphlets and print ads, two 30-second radio ads will be playing until July 4, encouraging people to lock their cars and remove the keys.
“We would see, or could see a substantial reduction in thefts of autos,” Chief Marlo Pritchard, SACP President and Weyburn Police Chief, said.
This province-wide effort is being made possible through a provincial crime prevention grant worth $162,000.
Police are hoping to drive down auto-theft because it can be more than a property crime.
“Often these individuals are involved in other criminal activity, and their driving habits are not taking other people into account,” Pritchard said.
“They don’t want to stop for the police.”
An extreme example of this took place in Saskatoon in May, 2014. Two 17 year olds, J.P. Haughey and Sarah Wensley, were killed when the vehicle they were in was t-boned by two people fleeing police in a stolen truck.
This is more than just an urban issue; rural RCMP are dealing with it too.
“Some of our detachments travel around on a Friday night, down Main Street in a small town, and they’ll go and check vehicles. If they find vehicles with the door unlocked they’ll open the door, put a pamphlet on the dash, and lock the door for the owner,” Supt. Kris Vibe from the “F” Division RCMP explained.
“It’s frustrating. Those resources could be used for important things and we use them to help people lock their vehicles.”
As of March 31, 2016 there have been 234 vehicle thefts in Regina. These kind of opportunity crimes can be prevented with some easy steps.
In addition to taking your keys and locking your vehicle, don’t leave valuables in plain sight, don’t leave your ID, park in a well-lit area, and use a steering wheel locking device like a Club.