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Car thefts shoot up by more than 50 per cent in Calgary

An incident Tuesday in which a Calgary police officer was hit by a stolen vehicle is the latest in an escalating number of car thefts that police are linking to the drug trade.

Between January and August of this year, nearly 3,000 vehicles were reported stolen, up by more than 50 per cent from the same period last year.

CALGARY CAR THEFT STATS

There have been several high-profile car thefts in the city recently. On September 4, a man was pinned while trying to stop an alleged carjacking.

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MORE: Police recover 74 stolen vehicles, charges laid

On August 18, an ambulance was stolen and then abandoned, and earlier that month, a vehicle believed to be stolen smashed through an entrance at North Hill Mall.

Police say you can reduce your chance of thieves targeting your vehicle by making sure not to leave valuables where someone can see them – it’s one of the common causes of theft.

“Theft is often a crime of opportunity,” said Cst. Carter Duchesney of the Calgary Police Crime Prevention Unit. “So if you’re providing someone with something in plain view, a smash and grab is a really quick way to gain entry into a vehicle.”

Police also recommend taking your garage door opener and insurance and registration papers out of your vehicle when it’s parked – that prevents a thief from finding your address and breaking into your home.

MORE: City of Calgary truck stolen and crashed during northeast joyride

Owners are also advised to make sure the windows are rolled up and the doors locked before removing the key, and to also make sure the garage door is locked.

Police say it can take thieves just 30 seconds to break into a vehicle, without a key, which is why they recommend drivers install some type of security device.

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With files from Stefan Keyes and Tony Tighe