There are a lot of potential losers out there, anti-theft inspectors are finding.
Two inspections under the Lock It or Lose It initiative, which aims to draw attention to risky behaviour by car owners, were done in Red Deer last Friday and the results were not encouraging.
Red Deer RCMP officers, community peace officers and Citizens on Patrol volunteers inspected 194 vehicles at Westerner Park and only 9.3 per cent were given a thumbs up.
Volunteers found personal documents, mail, retail items and garage door openers in plain sight. Three trucks had tools, tool boxes or valuable items in the box of the truck.
Results were better at Carnival Cinemas, where 105 vehicles were inspected with 35 per cent getting a passing grade. However, there were plenty of cellphones, keys, bags and purses, work identification and garage door openers in plain view and tempting targets for thieves.
How many vehicles were left unlocked is not counted because volunteers don’t try door handles or touch vehicles other than to leave a report card flagging visible temptations for thieves.
During Lock it or Lose it checks, vehicle owners also get reminders about expired or soon-to-expire registration, and volunteers flag issues such as cracked windshields or a note that the vehicle appears to have been left unlocked.
Garage door openers, many of which include a clasp to attach them to a visor as an example of misguided convenience, are a favourite target of thieves. Openers are stolen so crooks can get into people’s garages and then into homes, made even easier by those who don’t lock their interior door to the garage.
“We run the Lock it or Lose It campaign multiple times a year and we continue to see the same results, which is disappointing,” said Red Deer RCMP Const. Sean Morris. “Many smash-and-grab crimes are preventable, and we’re asking citizens to protect themselves by taking the extra few seconds to secure their valuables so as to not tempt would-be thieves.”
Volunteers were at the Red Deer Rebels March game the same night to speak to citizens about auto theft awareness. Drivers were given “All Valuables Removed” window markers, to deter crooks by advertising that there is nothing valuable inside the vehicle.
The Lock it or Lose it campaign is part of ongoing crime reduction work by Red Deer RCMP and local crime prevention agencies to educate Red Deerians.