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B.C. drivers warned as vehicle thefts spike in Fraser Canyon, Okanagan

A few simple steps will help prevent you and your vehicle from becoming victims
Leaving a spare set of car keys in your vehicle’s console is an invitation to thieves. (File photo)

Vehicle thefts are on the increase across Canada, and a recent spike in such thefts in the South Okanagan and along the Fraser Canyon corridor has prompted RCMP to remind people about the steps they can take to reduce the risk and combat the issue.

“Often times, the theft of a vehicle is a crime of opportunity,” says Cpl. James Grandy, RCMP spokesperson. “Making sure to lock doors and remove valuables from sight can dramatically reduce the chances of becoming a victim. Additionally, not leaving your vehicle running unattended, or ‘hiding’ keys inside the vehicle.”

Boston Bar RCMP have reported an increase in the number of thefts from vehicles, including catalytic converters, between Yale and Boston Bar.

“As the weather is warming up, we’ve noticed a growing number of visitors exploring Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park and our scenic hiking trails in the Canyon,” says Cst. Kristi Strauss of the Boston Bar RCMP.

“As a reminder, when parking your vehicle, opt for well-lit areas or those with lots of people, and ensure all valuables are removed from your vehicle.”

A few recent “theft of vehicle” investigations in the South Okanagan include a company Ford F-150 stolen from a worksite in Okanagan Falls; a Ford F-250 with Washington State licence plates stolen from in front of a business in Osoyoos; a truck, trailer, and boat stolen overnight from a residence in Okanagan Falls; a Chevrolet Avalanche stolen from a residence in Penticton, and a Dodge Ram 2500 pick-up stolen from another residence in Penticton on the same day; and a Ford F-350 that was stolen from a business in Oliver.

“Vehicle thefts are on the rise in Southern Okanagan communities, and Penticton RCMP’s Crime Reduction Unit is proactively targeting known auto crime offenders and high theft areas,” says Cst. Jesse Byer, Crime Reduction Unit. “Please be vigilant in securing vehicles, taking valuables with you and don’t leave keys inside your vehicle.”

No community is immune from vehicle thefts or thefts from a vehicle. While it is impossible to stop a determined thief, RCMP have some tips that will lessen the chance of you and your vehicle becoming a victim:

- Never leave anything valuable, like keys, wallets, purses, or shopping bags, in your vehicle. Even seemingly worthless items, such as a pair of sunglasses, can be a temptation, so keep them out of sight.

- Remove all cash from plain view. Even some loose change in a cupholder can be an incentive for a thief to break into your vehicle.

- If you must leave bags or valuables in the car, store them in the trunk or cover them up; don’t leave them in plain sight.

- Never leave your vehicle running while you run an errand or go into a shop. It takes only seconds for a thief to hop into your car and drive off.

- Park in a well-lit, high visibility area, or in a secure garage when possible. If you park outdoors, and have surveillance cameras on your property, point them so they have a view of your vehicle.

- Close and lock all vehicle windows and doors. Since many thefts from or of vehicles are crimes of opportunity, a thief will usually keep on going to an easier target if they find your vehicle is secure.

- Do not leave your keys in the vehicle.

- Report any suspicious people or activity around vehicles or residences to police.

READ ALSO: Family devastated after chicken stolen from North Vancouver home

Barbara Roden

About the Author: Barbara Roden

I joined Black Press in 2012 working the Circulation desk of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal and edited the paper during the summers until February 2016.
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