May 19, 2018 3:13 pm

Vehicle thefts in Calgary see a rise since last year

WATCH: A shocking gas-and-dash involving a stolen car caught on video Wednesday had the potential to turn deadly. Calgary police point out auto thefts put innocent lives at risk every day and they're seeing no slowdown in the crime. Here's Bindu Suri.

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Calgary police say the need for drivers to be vigilant is more important than ever. In Calgary, a sharp rise of stolen vehicles in February led to a higher number of vehicle thefts in the past four months compared to the same period last year.

The total number of vehicle thefts last year in Calgary from January to April was 2,033. This year, the total came to 2,121.

READ MORE: More than 500 idling vehicles spotted in Calgary in just four days

Police launched the Auto Theft Response Team last August, and officers are still just as busy.

“We’ve recognized this problem is increasing and we’ve re-deployed several resources,” said Insp. Joe Brar with the Calgary Police Service.

A gas-and-dash on Wednesday, west of Cochrane, highlights how dangerous auto theft can be.

Surveillance video showed the alleged driver of a stolen SUV fill up and leave without paying before slamming into an oncoming vehicle.

“They’re already involved in a criminal offence and they have a motivation not to be captured. There is an increased risk for violence,” said Brar.

He recommends people let police deal with car thieves and reminds drivers to keep their vehicle doors locked to avoid theft in the first place.

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