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Preventing Vehicle Theft

Preventing Vehicle Theft

November 5, 2020

As we begin to enter the holiday season, many automobile owners will increasingly find themselves frequenting parking lots as they canvas local retailers for that perfect gift for a loved one.

However, this is also a time of year when the potential thief has eyes on motorists who leave parcels and packages in plain sight, turning themselves into easy targets.

The Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT), the Province of British Columbia, and ICBC, encourages drivers to protect themselves with the slogan, “Check Your Doors Before They Do”. It’s something that’s important to do always, but especially as we approach the holiday season.

According to ICBC, there was a 7.6 percent increase in auto theft across British Columbia in 2019.

Theft of items is a mostly preventable crime and there are some steps you can take to stop thieves from breaking into your car. Though some may be obvious, it is worth keeping in mind. Here are some of ICBC’s top tips to prevent auto break-ins:

  • Keep valuables, gifts and parcels out of sight in the trunk and don’t leave them in the vehicle for long periods of time. Even items such as loose change and pop cans can tempt thieves.
  • While shopping, try not to unload gifts in your vehicle and then leave it unattended in the same parking spot.
  • Park in well-lit areas and use parking lots frequented by others.
  • Always lock your doors and close your windows, even if you’re away from your vehicle for just a minute. Remove any garage door openers from your vehicle.
  • Keep your keys secure at all times. Don’t leave your keys unguarded — even at a restaurant or the gym. Treat your keys like cash.

While criminals often target vehicles for smartphones, personal electronics, sunglasses, and cash, they are especially targeting vehicles that leave any holiday items in sight. They also may be looking for items such as garage door openers and any personal items or documents that may make you a target for theft further down the road.

The best way to combat these threats is to always make sure to remove any valuables or personal items in your vehicle and never leave anything in plain sight that may make your vehicle an easy target. In situations where you may be forced to park your vehicle in a less than ideal location, take the garage remote with you and make a copy of your vehicle registration and black out your home address in the copy you keep in your glove compartment. Keep the original with your address in a safe place at home. Google Maps also has a handy ‘remember my parking location’ feature.

ICBC recommends the 9 pm routine, which encourages vehicle owners to check on their vehicle each night at 9 pm to ensure it is safe and secure and all measures have been made to avoid being an auto crime victim.

To prevent heartbreak this holiday season – and in the future – it’s important to be diligent and remember these easy steps, so you aren’t an easy target.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at bqualey@newcardealers.ca

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