Vehicle thefts on the rise in Eckville

As has been the case in other communities recently, the number of motor vehicle thefts in Eckville is growing at a steady rate.

As has been the case in other communities recently, the number of motor vehicle thefts in Eckville is growing at a steady rate.

Staff Sgt. Gary Rhodes of the Sylvan Lake RCMP discussed and compared the crimes reported in the town from 2012 to August 2015 during an Eckville town council meeting on Monday.

The statistics showed a concerning increase in motor vehicle thefts this year in comparison to previous years.

Seven motor vehicle thefts have been reported this year  — an increase by five from last year.

Trucks seem to be the most common vehicle stolen, more specifically the Ford F-350, Rhodes said.

Many of the thefts are due to unlocked doors and trucks now being easier to start without a key.

To decrease the risk of theft, Rhodes advises locking vehicle doors and avoiding leaving valuables inside.

“Don’t leave valuable items in the vehicle that can be seen from through the windows,” he said. “If you have access to a garage or a shop of some type, put your vehicle inside.”

Police are patrolling the town and responding to calls, but Rhodes encourages the community to report suspicious activity to the police, as much of the crime is committed by people from out of town.

“People don’t typically do things in their own backyard, because they have to face the community and everyone knows what they’ve done,” he said.

Members of the community can call the RCMP dispatch line at 403-887-3333 to report suspicious behaviour, and are asked to provide a licence plate number and a description of the vehicle and driver.

These reports can provide police with a starting point for investigating other criminal activity, Rhodes said.

“Call the police so that we have that information and we can follow up on it.”

Rhodes also suggested that people take charge in their own neighbourhoods and towns — which can be done by simply going for a walk.

“Walk the streets and enjoy your town,” Rhodes said. “People are less likely to commit crimes if local people are watching.”