Reported by Bala Yogesh
The Vancouver Police Department asked the public to take precautions during the Christmas season, due to an increase in reported number of thefts from auto vehicles in Vancouver.
By the end of October, there were 10,554 thefts from auto incidents and the VPD are estimating the number to increase further to 12,000 by the end of the year. Last year, the number stood at 10,143.
The VPD addressed the issue at a press conference held on Thursday morning. Currently the department is conducting several initiatives such as reminding people to ensure the public is less likely to become victims of auto theft.
Staggering number of thefts
Brian Montague, media spokesperson for the VPD said that the reported numbers of thefts this year are
staggering, and the police are doing their best to reduce the number.
“We need public support too,” Montague said. “These are crimes of opportunity that are absolutely preventable.”
“We’re providing general tips that the public can do to reduce their chances of being the victim, and to reduce the number of thefts we see from the autos in the city.”
Detective Phil Ens, who played an innocent bystander in the smash and grab demonstration, said that there are different ways to keep your belongings safe.
“Everyone can be magical themselves by not leaving their gifts in their vehicles so that thieves can see them,” Ens said. “Lock them into the trunk, make one trip to your vehicle, not several because they will be watching you.”
VPD Const. Alison Hill said the initiatives that police are conducting can make people think of their own practices.
“If you have nothing to steal from plain view, it is very unlikely that your car will be broken into,” Hill said. “My recommendation is to choose a parking lot that is well lit, and very well maintained, and has excellent signage.”
“We want to see two types of signage: one is way finding signage, and the other is ownership signage.”
The VDP said that the Safer Parking Initiatives have covered 100 parking lots and another 25 parking lots are groomed into the list.
Montague said that public can follow basic tips like storing the gifts out of sight, and leaving them in the trunk to reduce the risk of auto theft.
Police and public are both responsible to prevent theft
Matt MacDonald, who regularly commutes by car, said that it is a shared responsibility of both police and public to prevent auto thefts.
“I would say it’s a shared responsibility, personally I would not leave anything in my car ever in Vancouver. The same thing with my bike, I wouldn’t leave it without locking up outside. If they want it, they will take it,” MacDonald said.
He also said that the police initiatives are not enough to raise awareness of what the public can or cannot do in public parking spaces.
“I haven’t even heard of the police initiatives, I guess they could do more to inform people,” MacDonald said.