Living in a smaller town has many benefits over the larger hustle and bustle of the city. But criminals also see benefits to the more trusting, laid back atmosphere of a smaller town.
Wetaskiwin RCMP are warning citizens to keep their vehicles locked up as unlocked vehicles with valuables in sight make a tempting target for thieves.
“The Wetaskiwin RCMP are once again urging citizens to lock their car doors when they leave their vehicles,” stated Cst. Holly Porterfield in a press release.
“They continue to receive numerous calls of theft from vehicles in all areas the detachment services. Often we hear from citizens that they have never locked their car doors as their communities have historically been free of such crime. Criminals are aware of this mentality, and are taking advantage of it.
“Here are some tips to prevent you from becoming a victim: Ensure that you remove all valuables from your vehicle if you are leaving it for a long period of time; If you must leave valuables in the vehicle, make sure that they are in the trunk, or any place out of view from curious people walking by; Don’t leave money in plain sight; Park in well light, visible, high traffic places when possible; Always ensure that all of the doors are locked when you leave your vehicle; and never leave keys in your vehicle, or in obvious places around the vehicle like in the gas cap, on the visor, or in a wheel well.”
Porterfield stated criminals that engage in these types of thefts do their best to not draw any attention to themselves. She stated it’s for this reason that it is very rare for a window to be broken so that they can gain entry to a vehicle.
Two more areas were thieves prey on small town residents are unlocked garages and ATVs, a prime target for criminals. Unlocked and open garages with valuables on display can often be seen clearly by passing motorists or people walking down alleys. Garages should be closed and locked, especially at night, while ATVS should be secured in a garage or locked securely. It’s not unknown for ATV thieves to lift a quad out of the back of a pick-up truck and steal it.
“If you see any suspicious behavior in your neighborhood, please report in to police right away. Prevention practices, citizen engagement, and timely reporting is key to reducing or eliminating these types of crimes in our community,” she added.