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Calgary police remind motorists to not leave vehicles unattended

Keeping your vehicle safe in Calgary
Calgary police are launching "operation cold start" to teach drivers the importance of keeping vehicles secure from criminals. Global News Morning Calgary's Doug Vaessen has the details.

Calgary police (CPS) kicked off “operation cold start” Monday and police will be out on the streets looking for any vehicles that are left running unattended.

With vehicle thefts continuing to be an issue in the city, police want to educate the public about the importance of keeping vehicles secure.

“In 2018, there were 5,938 passenger vehicles stolen in Calgary, which is equivalent to just over 16 vehicles per day,” police said in a news release Monday. “A significant number of these stolen vehicles were taken with the vehicle’s own key and are completely preventable.”

CPS Staff Sgt. Graeme Smiley said this type of crime can happen anywhere and just because you don’t live downtown doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you.

“A lot of people have the impression that they live in a quiet suburban neighbourhood, but what we’re seeing [are] criminals capitalizing on that and looking throughout the city to find vehicles that are running,” Smiley said. “So it can really happen anywhere.”

Police also say auto thieves have little regard for public safety, with about 40 per cent of recovered vehicles being reported as being damaged upon their return to the owner.

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Calgary police have the following safety tips to keep your vehicle secure, not only in the winter but the warmer months as well:

  • Never leave a running vehicle unattended, if the keys are inside the vehicle or if the vehicle has been started with a keyless ignition or push-button start.
  • Use a remote starter whenever possible and keep your vehicle locked.
  • Use a steering wheel lock to deter thieves.
  • Never leave spare keys or garage door openers in or around your vehicle.
  • Never leave children or pets in a running vehicle.
  • Do not leave valuables, including identity documents and bank cards, in a vehicle.
  • Report suspicious activity to police immediately by calling 403-266-1234 or 911 for crimes in progress.

READ MORE: 54 arrested in 3-month rash of Calgary vehicle thefts