More than 60 vehicles are stolen every day in Alberta, accounting for more than a quarter of vehicle thefts in Canada.
The numbers were unveiled by Statistics Canada on Tuesday. Alberta leads the country in vehicle thefts with nearly 23,000 vehicles stolen every year, according to a recent survey.
To put that into perspective, Alberta has about 11 per cent of the national population, but accounts for 29 per cent of all vehicle thefts. In January 2018, one quarter of the stolen vehicles had their keys inside at the time.
In Edmonton in 2017, more than 4,400 vehicles — 12 per day — were reported stolen.
More than 5,700 vehicles were stolen in Calgary, or the equivalent of 16 vehicles per day. In addition, more than 13,000 incidents of property stolen from vehicles were reported to Calgary police.
Representatives with the Alberta Motor Association say more needs to — and can — be done to prevent this crime.
“The rise of vehicle thefts in Alberta is staggering,” said Jeff Kasbrick, vice president of government and stakeholder relations at the AMA.
The AMA has partnered with local police departments, including the EPS, on a new public awareness campaign called “Lock It or Lose It.” The campaign encourages drivers to take a few steps to prevent vehicle theft, including locking their vehicle, removing the keys and removing all valuables.
“Unlocked doors or keys in the ignition are an open invitation for thieves to steal your vehicle,” Kasbrick said. “Lock It or Lose It is a reminder to take simple steps to curb vehicle theft and take away the welcome mat for thieves.
“Even if you think you’re only stepping out for a moment, a lot can happen. It’s just not worth the risk, let alone the headache.”
Watch below: Raw security camera video shows homeowner Dean Crompton confronting an alleged would-be car thief outside his northeast Edmonton home.
Another major concern for police is theft from vehicles. In 2017, more than 6,200 thefts from vehicles were reported to Edmonton police. While that number is down slightly from the year before, police say the numbers are still far too high. About 17 thefts from vehicles happen every day in Edmonton.
“These are often crimes of opportunity, and there are many things citizens can do to protect their vehicles and their belongings,” EPS Staff Sgt. Steve Sharpe said.
Insurance and registration papers are a target for thieves and can lead to identity theft and fraud, according to police. If keys and garage door openers are stolen, it can lead to home break-ins, police said.
People are encouraged to share their prevention stories on social media with the hashtag #lockitorloseit.