The Edmonton Police Service is reminding the public not to leave vehicles idling, unlocked or with keys inside, thus becoming easy targets for criminals. More than 50 vehicles were reported stolen last weekend, one-third of which were left idling, unlocked and with the keys inside.
“Extreme temperatures ranging from very hot to extreme cold often trigger a rash of stolen auto complaints in our city,” says Sgt. Ian Smith, of EPS West Division. “We want to remind citizens to be vigilant, and despite the allure of getting into a warm vehicle, please don’t leave it running and unlocked or with keys inside, while you’re in the house or shopping.
“This story never ends well,” Smith says. “It’s absolutely a crime of opportunity, and one that can be avoided by not leaving your vehicle running, unlocked and unattended. The last thing you and your family want to deal with during extreme winter weather is car shopping.”
The EPS Operation Cold Start program (see video below) 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, especially during the early-morning hours, as citizens prepare for the morning commute.
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.
In 2018, more than 4,300 vehicles were stolen in Edmonton.
Click here to view the EPS Cold Start video: Operation Cold Start
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.