Edmonton Police Service, the RCMP and the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) are partnering to help area residents lock out auto theft – a crime that has far-reaching consequences for all of us.
EPS, RCMP and IBC are launching an educational campaign, Lock Out Auto Theft, to help citizens protect themselves from rising auto theft rates. The campaign consists of social media posts, a website, a new video featuring aerial police footage and advertising.
Over the course of 2016, 4,865 vehicles were stolen in Edmonton, a 41 per cent increase from the 3,453 vehicles stolen in 2015. Incidents of auto theft have remained high in 2017, with 1,260 thefts from January through April, similar to the 1,267 thefts that occurred during the same time period last year. IBC estimates that 60 per cent of stolen vehicles had keys inside.
“Our members are working hard not only to catch thieves in action but also to identify and recover stolen vehicles, but we need citizens’ help,” says Det. Dwayne Karpo of the EPS Auto Theft Unit. “It may seem obvious, but the majority of vehicles that are stolen have keys inside, are left unlocked or left running. We’re asking Edmontonians to lock their vehicles, take their keys and remove their valuables.”
Stolen vehicles are not just a drain on police resources; they are a threat to public safety. “Every year, many people are injured or die as a direct result of auto theft. When it’s in the hands of a thief, a stolen car is like a loaded gun,” says Alfred Normand, Acting Director of Investigative Service Division of IBC Western and Pacific Region.
“Thieves don’t care how they drive,” adds Det. Karpo. “They break traffic laws and cause collisions, damaging property and endangering officers and the public.”
Stolen autos are frequently used in other crimes, such as drug trafficking, break and enters, robberies and hit and runs. Stolen property, drugs and weapons are routinely recovered from stolen vehicles.
Photo: On March 25 at approximately 7:30 p.m., a stolen vehicle veered off the road into an unoccupied bus shelter in the area of Abbottsfield Road and 118 Avenue. Multiple witnesses reported that it was travelling at high speed. Shortly after, police located a male suspect and arrested him.