By: Luke Jones, Published on May 22, 2017 09:01 AM, Last Update on May 21, 2017 03:02 PM
The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) has teamed with the RCMP and the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) for a campaign that strives to educate people about the rising auto theft rates in Edmonton.
In a collaboration between the organizations, there will be a website, social media campaign, and a new video as part of an initiative titled Lock Out Auto Theft. EPS announced the new campaign on Thursday, showing a video that highlights aerial police footage showing auto theft.
Through the press release, the Edmonton police say there were 4,865 vehicles stolen in the Alberta capital in 2016 alone, an increase of 41% compared to 3,435 in 2015. There is an increasing trend and Edmonton is in the grip of an auto theft crisis. In 2017, there have been 1,260 thefts through the months January to April. This is just seven fewer cases compared to the same period a year ago.
Customers remain at fault for many of the thefts, with IBC pointing out that 60% of the stolen vehicles were left with the 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,” said 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.”
Alfred Normand, acting director of the Investigative Service Division of IBC’s Western and Pacific Region, added that “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,” he contended.
Added Karpo: “Thieves don’t care how they drive. They break traffic laws and cause collisions, damaging property and endangering officers and the public.”
According to EPS, stolen vehicles are also “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.”