Did you know that in 2012, Saskatoon Police responded to a total of 788 stolen vehicle reports? Does that number surprise you? Shock you?
Then again on February 16, 2013, at approximately 3:00 a.m., Police responded to another stolen vehicle taken in the 2300 block area of 33rd Street West.
Given the statistics from the year before, you might think it’s not uncommon. But what makes this different, and preventable, was that the vehicle was left running unattended, with the keys in the ignition and the doors unlocked.
Looking back, I’m sure the owner would have done things much differently but in reality, this individual is not alone.
Of those 788 vehicles reported stolen last year, 27 per cent of people admitted to leaving their keys inside. That’s 216 owners that didn’t need to go through the frustrations and inconveniences of being without a vehicle.
Whether you’re leaving the keys in the ignition, valuables in plain sight, the doors unlocked or the engine running unattended, you’re making your vehicle an easy target for a crime of opportunity.
Thefts of vehicles and thefts from vehicles can cost residents millions a year in insurance claims. They occur in parking lots, shopping centres, airports and residential areas.
Some tips to help protect you from becoming a victim:
- Park in a sensible place, avoid unlit areas at night
- Remove the ignition key and activate the steering lock
- Lock all your doors and close the windows
- Place your valuables out of sight, or better yet, take them with you
- Remove extra keys from your vehicle
Vehicle theft affects us all. Owners are upset and inconvenienced; buyers are unsuspecting and can suffer financial loss; significant amount of time and expenses are involved in the reporting and insurance claims that will follow. Help put a stop to it by making it as difficult as possible for someone to steal your vehicle.
Remember, the best offence is a good defense. Remove all possible opportunities for someone to steal your vehicle.
For more information on preventing your vehicle from being stolen, visit SGI’s webpage: prevent vehicle theft and vandalism.