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‘Shut off your vehicle and help shut down a crime of opportunity’

OPERATION COLD START

For Immediate Release: 03-Dec-2020 @ 11:58 AM
MRU #: 20R112  [No text in field]

Vehicles left idling or unlocked with keys inside continue to be targeted by thieves across the city. 

“We typically see a rash of stolen idling auto complaints when extreme temperatures ranging from very hot to extreme cold hit Edmonton,” says Sgt. Ian Smith, of EPS West Division. “This year, however, our numbers continue to climb, despite unseasonably warm temperatures.

Most incidents are occurring on weekdays during peak commuting times, from Monday to Friday, between 5 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., while citizens are preparing to travel or stopping on the way to their places of employment.

Thefts of idling vehicles have also been reported to EPS involving food delivery services. Delivery drivers have left their vehicles idling and unattended, while picking up or delivering food to customers. These thefts are primarily occurring in the evening hours, Smith says.

Once again this year, the EPS Operation Cold Start program is attempting to change citizens’ habits with respect to leaving their idling vehicles unattended, unlocked and with keys inside. Members will conduct proactive patrols scouring various neighbourhoods for vehicles left idling and unlocked.

Officers then approach the residence with the goal of engaging and educating the owner of the vehicle in a discussion regarding the crime of auto theft.

“With more citizens working from home throughout the pandemic, we expected to see a significant drop in numbers, though we’re still finding many vehicles left idling while on our neighbourhood sweeps across the city,” says Smith. “Listen, we all like to climb into a warm vehicle, though it’s absolutely not worth losing your vehicle over and having it involved with much more serious, violent crimes across the city.  “Without question, these are crimes of opportunity, and one that can be avoided by not leaving your vehicle running, unlocked and unattended.”

Although EPS Downtown Division had the least number of occurrences over 2020, a significant number of incidents were concentrated in only five neighborhoods. These neighborhoods included: Central McDougall, McCauley, Boyle Street, Downtown, and Queen Mary Park.

Click here to view the EPS Theft of Idling Vehicle commercial currently being broadcast on Edmonton television stations: EPS Theft of Idling Vehicle Commercial

Anyone with information regarding suspects involved with stolen autos is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm.

Total Occurrences

Division

2018

2019

2020*

Grand Total

DOWN

41

41

33

115

NEAST

92

56

54

202

NWEST

71

64

43

178

SEAST

73

45

47

165

SWEST

45

45

40

130

WEST

46

32

51

129

Grand Total

368

283

268

919

*YTD to 2020 November 30

 

 

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For media inquiries please contact the EPS Media Relations Unit at
780-421-3551.

"Dedicated to Protect, Proud to Serve"