Red Deer, Alta. – Last month Red Deer RCMP’s Community Policing 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 encourage Red Deerians in the habit of unsafely idling their vehicle to protect themselves and make it tougher for would-be thieves to steal vehicles, as often vehicle thefts are a crime of opportunity,” says Cst. Francois Nadeau, Red Deer RCMP Community Policing.
During the four days of Cold Start patrols, Red Deer officers found 75 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.
“Vehicle theft is itself very concerning. But stolen vehicles are also used by criminals to commit a variety of other crimes,” says Cst. Nadeau. “We often see stolen vehicles involved in break and enters, thefts and other property crimes.”
In the month of January, Red Deer RCMP’s Crime Reduction Team (CRT) recovered 11 stolen vehicles and arrested nine prolific property crime offenders in Red Deer.
“Informed by PINPOINT, our strategic crime reduction initiative, we used criminal analysis and hotspot targeting to recover the stolen vehicles and make these arrests,” says Cpl. Marko Henezi with Red Deer RCMP’s Crime Reduction Team.
In January, Red Deer experienced 78 more instances 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. Vehicles are most often reported stolen between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m.
Red Deer RCMP