Theft from vehicles up almost 40 per cent in Vancouver over last year

A demonstration of a smash-and-grab by Vancouver police. This was part the Vancouver police's message to residents and visitors before Christmas - don't leave presents in your car for thieves to steal. Global News

Vancouver police are issuing a warning to residents and visitors to make sure not to leave any valuables in cars when parking in the city.

This comes as a response to a dramatic increase in theft from vehicles over the same period in 2017.

Police say from January to March of this year, there was a 39.4 per cent increase in thefts.

“Theft of items from vehicles is a preventable crime,” says Sgt. Jason Robillard of the Vancouver police in a release. “You can take simple steps to help prevent thieves from breaking into your vehicle. One of the easiest things to do is to avoid leaving anything visible in your car.”

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In December, police arrested more than 25 suspects and recommended more than 80 charges during the month-long theft-from-auto project in downtown Vancouver.

“You may think that an item is not valuable, like a car charger or a jacket, but it might be enough to tempt a thief,” adds Robillard. “The effort it takes to remove all visible items in your car is minimal when compared to the cost and hassle of replacing a broken car window.”

Police say they have stepped up patrols in Vancouver to help reduce the frequency of thefts but say drivers should not leave anything visible in their cars when parking.

WATCH: Aired Oct. 6, 2016 – Huge spike in auto-related theft in Vancouver

Click to play video: 'Huge spike in auto-related theft in Vancouver'
Huge spike in auto-related theft in Vancouver

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