Despite car theft reports dropping, the Grande Prairie RCMP is reminding residents to keep their cars locked up and empty to avoid becoming a victim of opportunistic criminals.
Between July 15 and August 12, 2020, 35 car thefts were reported in the city. That’s a drop of more than 50 per cent from the same period in 2019, in which 77 reports were investigated.
Grande Prairie RCMP Sergeant Shawn Graham says car theft is generally a crime of opportunity, and it only takes a few seconds for a perp to take off with a vehicle.
“We want to remind people that criminals are actively looking for easy vehicles to steal,” he says. “Vehicles left running or unlocked outside of a home, or parking lot of a business, they make for easy targets.”
Graham says in Grande Prairie around a third of the vehicle thefts reported over the past month were from high traffic areas like parking lots in hotels, and business.
He adds while COVID-19 caused a decrease in overall crime during the early stages of the pandemic, as fewer people were out and about, now that more people are returning to near normal schedules, the public needs to keep a close eye out for any potential wrongdoing.
“I think our community is doing a good job, and they’re certainly doing a great job in reporting any suspicious activity they see in their neighbourhood because that helps us reduce crime in our community.”
Graham adds it’s also easier than ever for the public to report a crime, as the RCMP has recently launched its online reporting tool.