Red Deer drivers leave valuables in vehicles despite concerns over crime

Drivers in Red Deer are leaving valuables behind in their vehicles — making it easier for offenders to perform a smash and grab theft, said Red Deer RCMP Cpl. Karyn Kay.

She called the latest numbers from the fourth Lock it or Lose it campaign “super disappointing.”

At Saturday’s Rebels game, Red Deer RCMP and Red Deer Citizens on Patrol (COP) volunteers checked vehicles for safety compliance in the Westerner Park parking lots as part of the campaign.

Out of the 390 vehicles checked, a mere 48 vehicles passed the safety check, ensuring they had taken the care to hide all valuables.

Kay said by leaving possessions in plain sight, drivers are providing all the more opportunities for offenders to commit crime.

“It’s an easy grab — an easy crime to commit,” she said.

These are the lowest safety scores seen since the campaign began, despite how vocal citizens are about their concerns about property crime, said RCMP Const. Sean Morris.

Out of the 210 vehicles that were inspected during the first Lock it or Lose it campaign in February, 97 vehicles passed the safety check.

In May, 103 vehicles were checked, of which, less than half of the vehicles received a thumbs up on safety measures. In July, 281 vehicles were checked and just over half passed the safety check. The campaign takes place at different parking lots in Red Deer.

Kay said residents want the police to step up and help them but Red Deerians need to be responsible and keep their belongings locked up.

“We need Red Deer residents to stand up and protect themselves,” she said.

Sixty-seven vehicles had possessions or cash in plain view, 25 had visible electronics and 52 had garage door openers.

Seven trucks had items of value left in the box, and four vehicles had their keys left inside.

“That certainly surprised me — people leaving their keys in plain view,” said Kay.

The Lock it or Lose it campaign aims to educate the public on the important role they play in crime reduction efforts around vehicle thefts and “smash and grab” crimes.

Eight COP volunteers worked with Red Deer RCMP to check the vehicles. Volunteers placed a flyer to inform the driver that their vehicle had been visually inspected. The flyers flagged any temptations volunteers saw that might induce a thief to break into the vehicle or attempt to steal it, with the goal of educating drivers about ways they can protect themselves from becoming victims of crime.

“Saturday night we saw the evidence of a shocking number of citizens who continue to make choices that create attractive targets for smash and grab thefts. It’s not difficult to secure your vehicle and remove valuables from it, and we’re asking citizens to stop and think about the impact of their actions,” said Morris.

The campaign is part of ongoing crime reduction work by Red Deer RCMP and local crime prevention agencies to educate Red Deerians about ways they can avoid being victims of crime.

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