The Alberta RCMP is reminding Albertans to be cautious about leaving their vehicle unattended while idling. From Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, RCMP will participate in a campaign to inform citizens about the dangers of leaving their vehicle running while unattended during the winter months. (Photo by ADVOCATE STAFF)

The Alberta RCMP is reminding Albertans to be cautious about leaving their vehicle unattended while idling. From Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, RCMP will participate in a campaign to inform citizens about the dangers of leaving their vehicle running while unattended during the winter months. (Photo by ADVOCATE STAFF)

Operation Cold Start to educate Albertans about keeping vehicles safe

Alberta RCMP will kick start a campaign at the end of January to help Albertans keep their vehicles safe during the winter months.

Operation Cold Start, which will take place from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, is designed to reduce auto theft during the frigid days of winter.

During that period, police officers across the province will be patrolling for unattended idling vehicles to determine if they are locked or have the keys in the ignition. Officers will work to educate owners on the various ways they may keep their property safe.

“Alberta has the highest per capita auto theft rate in the country, and approximately 25 per cent of those vehicles are stolen while idling with the keys left in the vehicle,” said RCMP Supt. Mike McCauley of the Community Safety and Wellbeing Branch.

“This drives up insurance rates for Albertans and these files take a great deal of time to investigate. This project will prevent some of these crimes during the project, and ideally, thanks to the educational component of the project, will change Albertan’s habits. It is a small investment tackling one of the root causes of this crime.”

The RCMP offered several tips to help keep cars secure during the winter. They include using a command start to start your vehicle, purchasing a steering wheel locking device, allowing the car to warm up before you drive while you are inside and never leaving valuables in the vehicle.