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Garage break and enters up 73% over 5 years: Edmonton police

WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton police are reminding drivers to never leave garage door openers in their vehicles as there has been an increase in thefts. With garage break-ins up 73 per cent in the past five years, Chris Chacon has a look at ways homeowners can protect themselves.

Do you leave your garage door opener in your vehicle? Edmonton police are out with a warning against the practice amid a spike in the number of break-ins targeting the devices.

Between 2014 and 2018, Edmonton has seen a 73 per cent increase in the number of reported and attempted garage break and enters in the city.

Total garage B&Es and attempted B&Es:

  • 2014: 1,238
  • 2015: 1,676
  • 2016: 1,919
  • 2017: 1,945
  • 2018: 2,145

Edmonton police say they introduced online crime reporting for garage break and enters in mid-2016, which may have caused an increase in the number of incidents reported. However, there has been a recent spike in the crime, particularly in the city’s northeast.

“In the last month or so we have seen an increase in vehicles being broken into and their remote control for the garage door being stolen,” said Aaron Wierenga, owner of Comtec Overhead Door Experts in Ponoka, Alta.

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READ MORE: Edmonton police reminding residents not to keep garage door openers in vehicles

Edmonton police encourage everyone who has a garage door opener to remove it from their vehicle. Officers say that once a thief gets a hold of a garage door opener, it grants them instant access to your property. The risk is greater for those with attached garages who leave the door to the house unlocked.

“If you have multiple remotes and one of them is left in your vehicle and your vehicle is broken into and they steal that remote from your vehicle, in order to be safe again you have to erase all the remotes that have ever been programmed to that operator,” Wierenga said.

“If you still have existing remotes you can re-program them to your operator.”

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READ MORE: Unlocked doors result in 7 brazen overnight burglaries in Edmonton, police warn

There are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Edmonton police encourage people to do the following:

  • Install motion sensor lighting
  • Protect outdoor belongings
  • Record and identify outdoor property
  • Engrave your name, address or other unique identifier on your belongings
  • Install protective fencing
  • Keep up with yard maintenance
  • Know your neighbours

With files from Scott Johnston, Global News.