Vehicle theft continues to be a problem throughout the region, with most thefts reported easily preventable, say police.
In Lacombe County, many vehicle thefts occur as the result of owners leaving keys inside with doors unlocked, according to Lacombe County senior peace officer Julian Veuger. And it’s not just vehicles that are being stolen: Thieves also target any items of resale value inside.
“People are trying to make money and they are out stealing stuff to sell so they can support (drug) habits,” Veuger said. “If there’s something on the seat that’s worth breaking the window and taking, obviously they are going to do that.”
Veuger warns people against leaving running vehicles unattended, and encourages people to be aware of potential witnesses to their daily car starting routines.
“Even leaving your vehicle running out in front of your house, people watch and they see that,” he said. “If people get into a routine where every morning at 8 a.m. they go out and start their car and let it run for 20 minutes before they go, thieves see and watch that. It’s not uncommon for them to know routines of people.”
Simple preventative measures include locking vehicle doors, removing all valuables from sight and avoiding leaving keys in a vehicle, Veuger said.
But an open and running vehicle in front of a residence is not the only place of opportunity, he added. Store parking lots can be a gold mine for theft, he said, especially during the Christmas season.
Parents leaving their children unattended in a vehicle raises concern as well, and creates not only a thieving opportunity, but also a public safety risk.
“Definitely avoid leaving children in a vehicle in the winter time,” Veuger said. “It’s irresponsible as a parent to leave your kids exposed. People stealing vehicles may not care or even see your children in the back seat.”
Tinted windows may add further risk to the potential for intentional or unintentional child abduction, he added.
“If (thieves) see a door unlocked, they will take off with the vehicle and not necessarily be aware of an infant or children inside.”