RCMP to public: Prevent theft by locking your vehicles, removing valuables

Lock your vehicle or risk losing items to thieves, police in the Central Okanagan said this week.

Police said thefts from parked motor vehicles continue to be committed in rural and residential areas throughout the Central Okanagan, from Kelowna to Lake Country. They said residents should be mindful that no neighbourhood is immune to this crime of opportunity.

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“RCMP throughout the Kelowna Regional Detachment area continue to find that the vast majority of the vehicles targeted by property thieves — all types and sizes of motor vehicles — had one thing in common: Their doors were left insecure,” said RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey. “The few cases where auto glass was smashed, or exterior locks were damaged by suspects, was when vehicle owners left valuable property in plain sight.”

Police said the most common items stolen from vehicles are wallets and purses, credit and debit cards, personal identification, power tools, golf clubs, house and/or automotive keys, money, expensive clothing items and personal accessories, such as sunglasses.

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“Often times, victims who leave their wallets, containing debit and credit cards and personal identification inside their vehicle, also become victims of fraud,” said O’Donaghey. “In many of these cases, criminals will have racked up multiple charges using the stolen cards’ tap feature before the victim discovers their cards are even missing.”

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Police added that if you see suspicious people or activities near your vehicle, or in your neighborhood, you are encouraged to call your local police immediately. RCMP also ask that vehicle owners contact them as soon as they discover a break-in has been committed to their vehicle.

The RCMP also added that 911 is for emergency situations only and should only be used when someone’s life is in danger, there is an immediate threat to someone’s safety or when there is a crime in progress.