Grande Prairie RCMP is reminding the public to not leave the keys in their vehicle as it warms up. Mounties say between November 2020 and February 2021, roughly 20 per cent of the 101 vehicle thefts reported in city of Grande Prairie involved vehicles that had been left running or with the keys inside.
Sergeant Shawn Graham says when it comes to crimes of opportunity, the best way for someone to protect themselves is to remove that opportunity. He adds that vehicle theft tends to lead to higher rates of other crimes around the region.
“If a crime is preventable we should be trying to do whatever we can to prevent this crime,” he says. “Offenders that steal vehicles often have little regard for the safety of other people, and they engage in high-risk driving behaviour, and quite often they’ll use those vehicles to commit other crimes that victimize our community.”
There is a positive trend overall when it comes to vehicle thefts in Grande Prairie. Sergeant Graham adds that the overall number of thefts have dropped, with 17 reported from November to December 2018, and 106 in the same time frame in 2019. He notes the percentage of thefts involving running vehicles averages around 30 per cent of all reported incidents.
“If you’re warming up your vehicle and you use keys in the ignition, then you should stay with that vehicle, because, again, if it’s unlocked, it’s a crime of opportunity.”
He adds that residents should also keep any personal items, like identification, wallets, and electronics, out of the vehicle, to deter potential theft from vehicles as well.