If you see something, say something.
That’s the message Nanaimo RCMP is putting across to the public along with a warning about a sharp rise in thefts from vehicles that police are describing as “alarming.”
From January to the end of September, there had been 1,555 reported thefts compared to 1,661 all of 2017, a number police estimate will be surpassed before the end of October, according to a press release issued by Nanaimo RCMP on Friday.
In a month-to-month comparison, September alone had 242 reported thefts from vehicles, more than double the 113 reported thefts in September 2017.
Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said in the press release that several factors have led to rising thefts from vehicles in Nanaimo and several key ways the public can help combat the problem that include keeping vehicles locked when not in use – according to police statistics, 45 per cent of all vehicles broken into are unlocked – and to keep valuables out of sight or take them out of the vehicle.
“Thieves will walk up and down streets, usually late at night, and as they pass a vehicle, grab door handles. If it’s locked they move on. An insecure vehicle can contain a treasure trove of items for prying eyes and hands, such as wallets, cell phones and small change … Don’t make it so easy for criminals,” O’Brien said. “Do your part and keep your doors locked and valuables out of sight.”
People are also asked to immediately report suspicious activity, such as individuals taking a keen interest in a vehicle or trying door handles, by calling the Nanaimo RCMP detachment non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.
O’Brien said police are actively targeting individuals who break into vehicles and some arrests have been made but more work is required to deal with this issue.
Anyone with information about individuals involved in thefts from vehicles is asked call the Nanaimo RCMP detachment at 250-754-2345. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.