Red Deer, Alta. – On March 15, Red Deer RCMP Members, Community Police Officers, and Red Deer Citizens on Patrol (COP) volunteers from Red Deer and Ponoka conducted Lock it or Lose It inspections at two locations in Red Deer.
During the campaign, vehicles at Westerner Park and Carnival Cinemas were inspected. Volunteers did not try doors or touch vehicles, other than to leave a report card at the vehicle, flagging temptations that might encourage a thief to break into the vehicle or try to steal it. Results from the day were not encouraging.
At Westerner Park, 194 vehicles were inspected and only 9.3 per cent of vehicles received a thumbs up. Volunteers found personal documents, mail, retail items and garage door openers in plain sight. Further, three trucks had tools, tool boxes or valuable items in the box of the truck.
At Carnival Cinemas, 105 vehicles were inspected with 35 per cent of vehicles receiving a thumbs up. Again, volunteers found many items in plain sight, including cell phones, keys, bags and purses, work identification and garage door openers.
RCMP flag visible garage door openers as a temptation because thieves will smash vehicle windows in order to steal garage door openers, which they can then use to access the garage – and the residence itself, if a connecting door is left unlocked.
“We run the Lock it or Lose It campaign multiple times a year and we continue to see the same results, which is disappointing,” said Constable Sean Morris with the Red Deer RCMP. “Many smash and grab crimes are preventable, and we’re asking citizens to protect themselves by taking the extra few seconds to secure their valuables so as to not tempt would-be thieves.”
Volunteers also attended the Red Deer Rebels game on March 15 to speak to citizens about auto theft awareness. Drivers were given “All Valuables Removed” window makers, with the purpose of notifying potential criminals that the owner has removed anything of value from the vehicle, in hope to deter auto theft.
During Lock it or Lose it checks, vehicle owners also get reminders about expired or soon-to-expire registration, and volunteers flag issues such as cracked windshields or a note that the vehicle appeared to have been left unlocked.
The Lock it or Lose it campaign is part of ongoing crime reduction work by Red Deer RCMP and local crime prevention agencies to educate Red Deerians.
Cst. Sean Morris
Red Deer RCMP