December 1, 2016 6:00 pm

Vancouver police warn holiday season can lead to increase in smash-and-grab thefts

A demonstration of a smash-and-grab by Vancouver police.

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‘Tis the season… for thievery.

As shoppers load up their cars with gifts, police are asking people to be vigilant about reducing the risk of becoming a victim of ‘smash-and-grab’ thefts.

“Thieves will steal absolutely anything,” Vancouver police Sgt. Brian Montague said. “If you leave it in your vehicle, you’re giving a thief an opportunity to break your window and take your belongings.”

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Police are asking shoppers to avoid making several trips to their cars or leaving anything visible inside since it only takes a few seconds for someone to break in and steal your gifts.

Montague said theft from cars is up dramatically and by the end of 2016, they’re expecting 12,000 auto break-ins.

“In the VPD, we monitor 300 plus chronic offenders,” Montague said.

“These are individuals that are out committing crimes every day. One person can be responsible for literally dozens and dozens of thefts from autos every day.”

The VPD says shoppers should choose parking lots with a Safer Parker Award, which identifies parking facilities where extra steps have been taken to ensure a safer environment.

Some safer holiday shopping parking tips from police include:

  • if you must store anything in your vehicle, ensure all items are out of sight
  • if you are placing items in your trunk and then leaving your vehicle, look around and make sure no one is watching you
  • use an anti-theft device
  • remove garage door openers and keep insurance papers hidden in your car – together they give a thief your home address, and a way to get in report all suspicious activity to the police immediately
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