"Lock it or Lose it" shows vehicle owners still aren't getting message

By Gary McKinnon
November 9, 2018 - 9:29am Updated: November 9, 2018 - 10:02am

RED DEER- Only about one-third of vehicles checked during the latest "Lock it or Lose it" test passed the test, police say.

On October 30, RCMP and Red Deer Citizens on Patrol (COP) volunteers did visual inspections on parked vehicles at Parkland Mall as part of the ongoing public education campaign.

Volunteers do not try doors or touch vehicles, RCMP note, other than to leave a report card at the vehicle flagging temptations that might encourage a thief to break into the vehicle or try to steal it.

Of the 155 vehicles that were checked, Cst. Derek Turner says only 55 of the them received a "thumbs up" for the care drivers took to protect themselves from crime – meaning only 35 per cent took action that day to lower attractiveness for thieves.

Among the vehicles checked, two had visible keys left in the vehicle, 25 drivers left possessions or cash in plain view, 10 left electronics on visible display, and 17 had a garage door opener in plain view - a temptation, police say, because thieves will smash vehicle windows in order to steal garage door openers, which they can then use to access that garage and possibly the residence itself at a later time.

“The numbers are disappointing – cash, purses, cell phones and other valuables were left in plain sight in almost a third of the vehicles checked, as well as an unsecured dirt bike in the back of a truck that could have been stolen in seconds,” says Turner. “Many smash and grab crimes are preventable, and on that day volunteers saw many clear cases of people not meeting the police halfway. And that people continue to leave keys in their vehicles is astonishing. Stolen vehicles are a danger to everyone on the road, and they are often used to commit even more crimes. If you make it easy for a thief to take your vehicle, you’re endangering your community and contributing to the cycles of criminal activity.”

During Lock it or Lose it checks, vehicle owners also get reminders about expired or soon-to-expire registration, and volunteers flag issues such as cracked windshields or a note that the vehicle appeared to have been left unlocked.

The Lock it or Lose it campaign is part of ongoing crime reduction work by Red Deer RCMP and local crime prevention agencies to educate Red Deerians about ways they can avoid being victims of crime.

Red Deer RCMP and COP conducted five Lock it or Lose it events in 2017 and five so far in 2018, making educational contact with the drivers of 2,010 vehicles regarding their crime prevention choices.


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