Leduc, Alberta – Last month Leduc RCMP officers conducted Operation Cold Start patrols in conjunction with police forces across Alberta. In an effort to educate the community about preventing vehicle theft, members would look for unattended, idling vehicles and determine if the keys were in the ignition.
“Our goal was to educate Leduc residents and work with them to reduce vehicle thefts, ultimately making it tougher on would be thieves, as often vehicle thefts are a crime of opportunity,” says Constable Cheri-Lee Smith, Leduc RCMP Community Policing.
Throughout the Cold Start patrols, Leduc officers found 58 unlocked, idling vehicles with the keys in the ignition. When possible, an officer would speak to the vehicle owner to provide vehicle theft prevention tips.
“Throughout Operation Cold Start, we used criminal analysis and hotspot targeting to assist us in patrolling areas in the community that were know to have recently been targeted for crime in an effort to education residence and reduce crime” says Inspector Jeff McBeth, Leduc RCMP Detachment commander.
In the month of January, Leduc RCMP recovered 10 stolen vehicles.
In January, Leduc RCMP experienced an increase of 36% in reports of motor vehicle theft than in January of 2021. Approximately 25% of all stolen vehicles in Alberta are stolen while idling, and increases are usually tied to cold snaps where more vehicles are left idling.
Leduc RCMP would like to offer Leduc residents some tips to help keep their vehicles safe:
· If possible, look into command start options as a means to warm your vehicle.
· Steering wheel locking devices are effective options that can help mitigate theft.
· When starting your car, or allowing the engine to warm up prior to driving, ensure that you are in the vehicle.
· Never leave valuable items like purses, wallets, keys or change in an unoccupied vehicle.
· Always place keys to vehicles in a safe place, out of plain sight and in a secure location.
· Lock vehicle doors all the time, even if you are parked in your driveway or garage at home.
· Never leave your vehicle unattended if it is running or the keys are in it.
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