Lethbridge police reminding holiday shoppers of vehicle theft

LRPS and AMA partnering to remind holiday shoppers to lock vehicles and bring valuables with you. Erik Mikkelsen / Global News

LETHBRIDGE – Police say nothing brings a holiday thief more joy during the holidays than a car full of shopping bags and gifts.

“There’s a lot of oppourtunistic thieves out there,” said Cst. Steve Baker.

The Lethbridge Regional Police Service and Alberta Motor Association have partnered to distribute tips for preventing vehicle theft in parking lots.

“As soon as the Christmas season starts, all of our thieves find a lot of easy targets,” said Baker. “People who leave their cars running, because it’s cold outside, we have people who leave their cars unlocked, we have people who store their presents in their car while they want to keep shopping.”

Wendy Mah from AMA said petty crimes in the province are on the rise. She said thefts from vehicles in the province have risen 12 per cent and theft of vehicles have seen a 34 per cent increase.

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“The unfourtunate challenge is that there is always a spike in vehicle theft and property crime during this period,” said Mah. “It is for a variety of reasons.  One is especially with the economic downturn right now, people are desperate.”

Although it seems like common sense to some, Mah said it’s simple to avoid becoming a victim.

“The easiest thing you can do is roll up your windows, lock your doors, take your keys and remove or hide all valuables.”

The upcoming weekend is sure to be the busiest shopping time of the entire season, and police want to remind shoppers to also practice parking lot etiquette while out getting those last minute gifts.

“There’s going to be a lot of cars, a lot of frustrated drivers looking for a parking stall, there’s going to be slippery roads,” said Baker. “Make sure you’re looking around both as the driver and the pedestrian.”

“Keep your patience! It’s Christmas, it’s stressful, and everyone has places to go. But, just take a breath and enjoy the Christmas atmosphere.”