Property left inside cars is an increasing target for thieves, and car owners are reminded not to leave items in plain sight, even if the vehicle is locked.
In January, RCMP General Duty and Auxiliary officers conducted patrols in the parking lots of shopping malls in Chilliwack and Sardis, to see what was lying in plain sight within parked vehicles. If something could be seen through the window, a notice was issued to the owner as a reminder for the owner to store the items out of sight.
“It’s a great way to communicate with people,” says Cpl. Mike Rail, Media Relations Officer for the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment. “Most people were very receptive to [the initiative], which was very well-received.”
Items that were spotted in plain view included electronic devices, purses, wallets, keys, laptops, satellite radios, and a dash cam. A flat screen TV was spotted in the back seat of one vehicle.
Rail notes that it’s not just this sort of item that can attract a thief. “A pair of sunglasses could be worth up to $200; even loose change is a target.” He also advised people to take the automatic garage door opener out of the car if it’s parked outside for some reason.
Drivers should also take care not to leave valuables in their car when it’s parked at home, and make sure to lock the doors; unlocked doors are reported in nearly 50% of the theft from vehicle complaints that police receive. Wallets, work tools, credit cards, keys and fobs, and electronic devices are among the items commonly taken.
“It’s not enough just to lock the doors,” says Rail. “You have to take away the visual aspect as well. If you take away the opportunity, it will decrease crime.”