1400 vehicle thefts in Alberta in 45 days

by Morinville News Staff

Since Oct. 1, 1420 vehicles were reported stolen in Alberta’s RCMP jurisdictions‎. Police say many of the stolen vehicles were left idling vehicles with the keys accessible, a situation that is prompting police to remind motorists about the repercussions of leaving their unsecured vehicle idling.

RCMP say 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.

“Although trucks are predominantly the vehicle of choice, don’t forget to secure your other motor vehicles, like quads, tractors and snowmobiles,” said Corporal Curtis Peters of Strategic Communications in a news release Thursday. “We have a recent example of a situation where a tractor was stolen and used to ram and disable a police vehicle. These situations are potentially deadly.”

Police say situations involving stolen vehicles can have a significant impact on public safety and recently, police safety.

Within the last week, the RCMP have had two examples in different jurisdictions were police safety was put severely at risk. On Oct. 28 Barrhead RCMP responded to a suspicious person complaint which escalated into the suspect stealing a tractor which had keys in it and ramming the police vehicle. On In Red Deer on Nov. 8, 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. Fortunately, in both incidents, no one was injured.

Police offer the following tips:

Never leave a running vehicle unattended. If your 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 your vehicle. If a garage door opener goes missing at any time, the garage door should be immediately recoded.

If your 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.

Always lock the man door leading from a garage into a residence.