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Theft of idling vehicle numbers heat up as temperatures cool down

OPERATION COLD START

For Immediate Release: 06-Dec-2021 @ 12:15 PM
MRU #: 21R195 

As temperatures drop and winter settles in across northern Alberta, incidents involving theft of vehicles left idling are on the rise.

“It is an unfortunate reality of living in a winter city - people want to sit in a warm vehicle,” said EPS EPS Const. Brett Earley, Community Engagement Team. “We get it, unfortunately so do thieves. The winter is the perfect weather for criminals to target residential neighbourhoods and shopping centres for vehicles left running.”

Most incidents typically occur 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.


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, and the other crimes your vehicle may be involved in.

“Not only are thieves stealing your vehicle, they’re often using your ride to conduct other violent crimes throughout our city,” explained Const. Earley. “It’s a terrible inconvenience and expense to have your car stolen. It’s a lifetime of regret knowing your stolen vehicle was used to seriously hurt or even kill an innocent civilian during another criminal offence.”

Click here to view the EPS Theft of Idling Vehicle commercial currently being broadcast on Edmonton television stations:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXZnv74XYts

Idling Theft Total Occurrences, Edmonton Police Services

Division

2019

2020

2021*

Grand Total

DOWN

42

36

28

106

NEAST

56

56

41

153

NWEST

65

45

21

131

SEAST

43

59

36

138

SWEST

45

47

18

110

WEST

32

54

25

111

Grand Total

283

297

169

749

*YTD to 2021 November 30

 

Top 10 Neighborhoods for Idling vehicles 2019-2021

Count

DOWNTOWN (CORE)

23

MCCAULEY

20

CENTRAL MCDOUGALL

19

QUEEN MARY PARK

18

ALBERTA AVENUE

18

OLIVER

11

BOYLE STREET

11

CANORA

10

INGLEWOOD

10

WESTWOOD

10

Table 3: Idling vehicles by neighborhood 2019 January 01 to 2021 November 30 (YTD), Edmonton Police Service

 

 

Anyone with any information about this or any other crime 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.p3tips.com/250

-30-

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

"Dedicated to Protect, Proud to Serve"