by Morinville News Staff
Morinville – Recent complaints of thefts from motor vehicles in Morinville and surrounding area are prompting the RCMP and Morinville Citizens on Patrol (COP) to pool their resources to send residents the message to lock their vehicles.
Over the upcoming weekends, the two groups will be out in the community checking vehicles to see if they are locked. Pamphlets will be left on vehicles advising owners that their vehicle has been checked and providing information on how to protect their property.
Last spring Morinville RCMP Constable Justin St. Onge undertook a project to see if residents were making themselves easy targets for local and visiting criminals. St. Onge and another detachment member took to 10 Morinville neighbourhoods between 2:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. one morning, checking for unlocked doors on vehicles parked on the streets. St. Onge did not enter residents’ driveways, merely checked vehicles parked on the street and in parking lots. In 90 minutes the RCMP members checked 208 vehicles, 32 of which were found to be unlocked – approximately one crime opportunity every three minutes on their experiment
While the experiment resulted in more than 15 per cent of vehicles being found unlocked, the results varied from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. In the 2013 experiment police found all cars locked in one area but 80 per cent of vehicles were found unlocked in another.
Prior to the nocturnal experiment, St. Onge checked local policing stats and found that in 2012 there were 106 vehicle theft files opened. Forty of those occurred in Morinville, and half of those were in the summer months of June through August. Only two of the 40 cases were cleared by charge at the time of the 2013 experiment.
Although it remains to be seen what RCMP and COP members will find in the coming weekends when they go out checking vehicles, they are offering some simple tips to prevent theft from residents’ vehicles:
1/ Remove all valuables (backpacks, cell phones, purses, wallets, sunglasses, GPS systems, keys, iPod’, shopping bags, cigarettes, etc) from the vehicle.
2/ If you must keep valuables in your vehicle, store them in your trunk.
3/ Never leave a spare vehicle or house key in your vehicle.
4/ Whenever possible, park your vehicle in your garage or in a well-lit area and lock your doors.
Protect your insurance and registration documents as well as your garage door opener. (Carry them in your wallet or conceal them).
5/ If your garage door opener is stolen, ensure you change your system code.
6/ Install a car alarm, or use “the club” to lock the steering wheel.
7/ Use locking screws for your license plate.
Morinville RCMP are also encouraging residents to call police to report any suspicious activities in their neighbourhoods.