2019-08-07

Police to motorists: Secure your vehicles

by Keith Corcoran

Police agencies in the region are reminding the public to take steps to reduce the risk of being a victim of "car shopping" as pleasant summer weather is in full swing.

Lock vehicle doors, put the windows up, and get personal belongings that could be enticing to a thief out of sight.

"The comparison I always give is if you're in an area where you get a lot of Halloween trick-or-treaters because it's easy [for them] to go door-to-door, those would be the areas I would want to secure my property," Danny MacPhee, Bridgewater's deputy police chief, told LighthouseNOW.

It's also good practice to secure one's vehicle in large parking lots where there is a lot of foot traffic, such as ones near malls and hospitals, MacPhee explained. The RCMP urge motorists to park in areas where other vehicles are parked and not too isolated from view.

Anyone who sees a suspicious person can call in the report to police anonymously, MacPhee said. Law enforcement will conduct a check. RCMP also encouraged the public to report suspicious activity.

People involved in thefts from unsecured vehicles term the action as "car shopping."

"It's just a crime of opportunity; opening an unlocked door and [they] take what they can."

Pocket change, or valuables that can be quickly turned over for cash, are among items that go missing.

Cst. Sonia Upshaw, a community policing officer with Lunenburg district RCMP, said there was a case recently in her jurisdiction where the vehicle was stolen because the keys were left in the unlocked car.

She said there had been about 10 thefts from vehicles over a two-week period.

The public messaging surrounding the risks of leaving vehicles unsecured gets ramped-up by authorities routinely around this time of year. "I think it's just people get too comfortable and they believe we're safe because we're home in our driveways but it's not the case," Upshaw told LighthouseNOW.

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