With cooler temperatures quickly becoming the norm in the Peace Country, the Grande Prairie RCMP is reminding residents across the region to not leave their cars running unattended to heat up.
RCMP Sgt. Shawn Graham says as the cold nights turn into cold days, it’s tempting to turn your vehicle on to get warmed up. However, he says car thefts are crimes of opportunity, and it doesn’t take very long for that opportunity to get exploited.
“Sometimes we are going to start our vehicles ahead of time, if you can use command start, you don’t want to leave your keys in the vehicle,” he adds.
Data from the RCMP is reporting an overall uptick in vehicle-related theft from 2021 to 2022, with 27 car thefts reported in 2021, up to 36 in September 2022. He adds with a traditional uptick in these categories during the winter months, there are additional ways for residents to protect themselves from becoming victims of crime, and that includes keeping valuables out of sight.
“If it’s in sight, it provides that opportunity, they see it, they want to get in there, and if your doors are unlocked, it just makes it that much easier,” he says.
“If you don’t have any valuables or anything in sight, that will probably deter criminals from taking the opportunity.”
Overnight temperatures in Grande Prairie are expected to drop into negative territory as early as Thursday this week, with the average for this time of year sitting at -3 degrees Celsius, according to the Weather Network.