AUTO THEFTS - RCMP say vehicle thefts in Red Deer are on the rise. Express file photo

Vehicle thefts in Red Deer on the rise

Over 1,000 vehicles stolen in the span of a few months

Vehicle thefts in Red Deer continue to be on the rise according to the latest statistics released from the City’s RCMP.

From January to September of this year, 1,144 vehicles were reported stolen, which is up from 1,009 stolen vehicles for the same time period in 2016. This number is also more than double from 2013 where 572 vehicles were reported stolen between January and September.

“Since Oct. 1st, Red Deer RCMP had reports of 35 stolen vehicles, at least 10 of which were left unlocked and running with the keys inside,” said Const. Derek Turner, with the Red Deer RCMP, adding some of the owners of those vehicles also watched their vehicle being driven away by thieves.

“Typically this time of year when the weather gets colder, people want to warm up their vehicles before they leave anywhere and it’s always an opportunity for would-be criminals to try and use that as a chance to take somebody’s vehicle or belongings,” said Turner. “These are totally preventable crimes.”

The problem not only lies within Red Deer but across the province, as the RCMP, along with their partner police agencies, continue to warn citizens about the repercussions of leaving your unsecured vehicle idling.

The police are asking vehicle owners to keep their keys/key fob on their person when allowing your vehicle to idle. Auto thieves are roaming neighbourhoods and rural areas looking for a quick opportunity. It takes less than a minute to get in a vehicle and drive away, police have said.

The mindset of a driver of a stolen vehicle is not always rational. Situations involving stolen vehicles can have a significant impact on public safety and recently, police safety.

Earlier this month in Red Deer a 21-year-old male stole a truck that was idling and when located by the police, he rammed the police vehicle with the truck. No one was injured in the incident.

Citizens are reminded to never leave a running vehicle unattended. If keys must be in the ignition to warm it up, citizens should remain with their vehicle; install a remote starter if possible, however, always make sure the vehicle is locked; use a steering wheel lock to deter thieves; never leave children unattended in a running vehicle; never leave spare keys or garage door openers in or around a vehicle. If a garage door opener goes missing at any time, the garage door should be immediately re-coded; if keys are stolen, immediately change the locks for the keys that have gone missing, including residences and vehicles; vehicles equipped with a keyless ignition can still be stolen if left running, even with the key fob removed from the vehicle and always lock the main door leading from a garage into a residence.

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