Lock It or Lose It - Lethbridge

Vehicle Thefts on the Rise—AMA & Lethbridge Police Service say it’s time to Lock It or Lose It

Alberta leads the country in vehicle thefts, accounting for more than a quarter (29 per cent) of all thefts in Canada, according to the most recent Statistics Canada’s Uniform Crime Reporting Survey. That’s almost 23,000 motor vehicles stolen – more than three times the national average and a whopping 62 vehicles a day. Lethbridge Police Service (LPS) reported 319 stolen vehicles in 2017 – that’s an 85 per cent increase from 2016!

AMA is calling attention to this growing concern with Lock It or Lose It, a public awareness campaign in partnership with local police services. The campaign encourages people to be mindful of vehicle theft and the simple steps they can take to prevent it – remove the keys, hide or remove all valuables, and lock it up!

“The rise of vehicle thefts in Alberta is staggering and, in many cases, we can do much more to prevent it,” says Jeff Kasbrick, vice president of government and stakeholder relations at the AMA. “Unlocked doors or keys in the ignition are an open invitation for thieves to steal your vehicle. Lock It or Lose It is a reminder to take simple steps to curb vehicle theft and take away the welcome mat for thieves.”

Theft from vehicles (under $5,000) is also a concern. In 2017, LPS reported over 2,000 incidents, a 17 per cent increase from 2016. Beyond valuables taken from vehicles, items with personal information, such as insurance papers and vehicle registration are a target and open the window to identity theft and fraud. Garage door openers and keys left in the vehicle can also increase the risk of home burglaries.

“We’ve seen significant spikes in property crime, specifically vehicle theft and thefts from vehicles. As a result, it’s absolutely critical for all motorists to take precautions in order to reduce the risk of being victimized,” says Sgt. Cam Van Roon of the Lethbridge Police Service. “These thefts are largely crimes of opportunity and the risk can be minimized simply by ensuring your vehicle is locked, all valuables are removed, keys are never left inside and running vehicles are never left unattended.”

Lock It or Lose It is an initiative designed to increase Albertans’ awareness of vehicle theft and to arm them with some crime prevention tips. People are encouraged to spread the word and share their stories using the hashtag #lockitorloseit.

“We want people to get into the habit of locking their vehicles, removing all valuables and taking their keys with them,” says Kasbrick.” Even if you think you’re only stepping out for a moment, a lot can happen. It’s just not worth the risk, let alone the headache.”