Tips on preventing vehicle thefts

Auto Crime continues to be a problem and police want to educate car owners on what amounts to ‘target hardening’

Auto Crime continues to be a problem and police want to educate car owners on what amounts to ‘target hardening’.  Owners who don’t follow a few simple tips may as well take your property and ‘give it away’.

ICBC advises that theft from vehicles in 2012 was up even per cent over the year prior.  While it may seem insignificant to leave loose change in your console, the cost to you in time and money to repair damage to your vehicle caused during a theft will be quite significant.  So police are endeavoring, once again, to encourage owners to adhere to the following safety tips:

• Don’t just walk away.

• Park in a secure, well lit area.  If you can – park in your garage or in your driveway.

• Wait for the garage door to close behind you.

• Keep your garage door opener out of sight.

• If you’re parking on the street outside your residence, consider taking your garage door opener with you.

• Use an anti-theft device or an immobilizer if your car has one.

• Remove all valuables, including your keys.  Put anything that might tempt a thief in the trunk – even empty shopping bags.

• Always lock all your doors & windows, even if you will only be away from your vehicle for a minute.

Never assume your vehicle won’t attract a thief.

Avoid a build-up of old insurance decals when applying new ones.

Over a two week period, Langley RCMP Auxiliaries and Community Police Station volunteers walked through residential areas in the Fort Langley and Yorkson checking parallel parked vehicles for invitations to auto crime.  If a car was found to be unlocked, to have valuables in plain view, or a visible garage door opener – the volunteers would attend the residences nearby to locate the owner and offer some safety tips on a Crime Prevention Notice.

Over five days (84 man hours) in Fort Langley and Yorkson, volunteers distributed 392 notices and attended 516 residences.

Car owners can protect themselves against license plate decal theft by removing the older decals before applying the new one.  These decals are designed to shred if they are removed, however when there is a build-up, thieves can use a knife to cut off the last few layers so that the top (current) decal remains intact.  If your decal is stolen, it needs to be reported to police and your will be required to pay an $18 fee to have the decal replaced.

Corporal Holly MARKS, Langley Media Officer, “Please do everything you can to save yourself the time, money and inconvenience of theft from your vehicle.  Just by parking in your driveway, you cut your chances of having your vehicle broken into by half!  Really– you don’t want to give it away!”

Submitted by RCMP