VicPD has seen an increase in thefts from cars. (Black Press Media file photo)

Vancouver Island police are reminding people to lock their vehicles, remove valuables

VicPD sees 29 per cent jump in thefts from cars in early April

Vancouver Island police are reminding the public to keep their valuables secure after seeing a recent increase in thefts from cars.

From April 1 to 7 there were 48 thefts from vehicles in Esquimalt and Victoria, a 29 per cent jump compared to the last week of March.

In that March time period there were 34 thefts from cars.

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have also noticed an increase in property crime in the Duncan area recently, including thefts from vehicles. They are taking steps to mitigate and respond to those calls, and are asking the public to help reduce opportunities for thieves to strike, including the following tips:

• Lock vehicle doors all the time, even if parked in a home driveway. Never leave your vehicle unattended if it is running or the keys are in it.

• In public places like street parking or parking lots, make sure to leave your vehicle in a well-lit, open area.

• Consider installing motion sensor lights that will illuminate the area where your vehicle is parked overnight. Bright lights and the opportunity for witnesses to observe or interrupt are deterrents to this sort of crime.

• Remove valuable items, like wallets and purses, sunglasses, and phones, from your car before leaving the vehicle unattended. Cover or hide spare change, charge cords, or garage door openers. Don’t leave wrapped gifts or shopping bags in view. Thieves are looking for an easy target, and will often pass over vehicles if they cannot see anything of value.

• Put away other items from your yard or patio that are visible from the street, to prevent thieves from coming onto property.

“Most importantly, do not put yourself in an unsafe situation if you come across someone committing a crime,” Const. Carlie McCann advised. “If you observe someone committing a property crime at your home, call police. If it safe to do so, consider taking actions like turning on an outside light or activating the remote panic button on keys. Personal health and safety should be a priority over belongings.”

VicPD is following April’s Auto Crime Prevention Month campaign, launched by the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) and ICBC to remind people of steps they can take to prevent car thefts.

ALSO READ: VicPD warns downtown visitors not to leave valuables in car after large theft

Thefts tend to happen after dark, so VicPD recommends removing valuables from vehicles after 9 p.m. to help prevent losses.

Additional tips include locking the vehicle, parking in well-lit areas, not leaving a duplicate set of keys in or on your vehicle, and leaving nothing in plain sight.

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