Have you ever wondered what crimes are the most prevalent in the Edmonton area or in your neighbourhood? According to the Edmonton Police Service (EPS), theft from & theft of auto is currently the #1 crime in Edmonton. Also, not all of these crimes are being reported to police which indicates that it is even more serious than the numbers demonstrate. And the sad part is that most of these crimes can be prevented. They are most often crimes of opportunity. Criminals are generally looking for easy targets, quick grabs and vulnerable property.
Most people don’t realize that someone looking for money will smash a window worth hundreds of dollars to grab some loose change from a console. A pair of sunglasses on your dash worth $80 can be pawned for $3. An open door can result in your car being stolen in less than a minute. A garage door opener left in your vehicle can expose your home to a much bigger crime. Not only are you left with the cost of the broken or stolen property and the need for an insurance claim, but the criminal will have taken your sense of security and safety.
Theft of Vehicle & Theft from Vehicle can be prevented in almost all cases
KEYS: Never leave your vehicle unattended with the keys in it. That vehicle can be stolen in less than 15 seconds. Do not leave your keys in the ignition when you refuel your vehicle. If you are on the opposite side of the vehicle, a thief can get in your car, start it and drive away before you get to the driver’s door. It’s gone in under 20 seconds. And never leave a spare key in or around the vehicle. Car thieves know where to look.
TARGET VEHICLES: According to EPS, the most popular stolen vehicles at this time in Edmonton are Dodge Caravans and Plymouth Voyagers. Ford Escorts, Saturns and Hondas are running second. Larger Ford Trucks (F250/F350) are third.
LOCKED & CLOSED: Be diligent; lock your vehicle always – even in your garage. Any vehicle with an unlocked door is an easy target. Also ensure that windows and sunroofs are closed. Easy access in to the vehicle makes it a target.
ADDED SECURITY: If you have a car alarm – USE IT. And if you don’t have one, consider an after-market alarm. The cost of an after-market alarm may be less than your deducible if your vehicle was stolen or vandalized. Plus some insurance companies offer a discount if you add a car alarm. Another great add-on security feature is the use of a steering wheel lock (like the club).
CONTENTS: Remove all visible valuables such as loose change, portable GPS devices, cell phones, sunglasses, cameras, clothing and even cigarettes. And, always ALWAYS remove your garage door opener. Use the “All Valuables Removed” placard to remind you to remove your valuables from visible site. And don’t leave your car registration and insurance in the glove box or console. Carry it with you or lock it in your trunk.
PARKING: Park where it is safest. Find spots that are well-lit and near security cameras. The best spots are those where people are working nearby like a parking booth or near a cross walk, busy street or popular pedestrian walkway.
And should you become a victim of this type of crime REPORT IT. Always report a crime. If you see suspicious behavior REPORT IT. These types of calls help the police track and catch criminals in the act. If the police know of similar activity in a particular area (based on calls from reported crimes) and you call to report similar suspicious people in an area nearby, the police are ready to respond. With the community’s commitment to REPORT crimes and REPORT suspicious persons and activities, it will MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Until next time…
Debbie Sellers, ENW