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Regina police chief’s advice on avoiding auto, property theft over the holidays

Regina Police chief Evan Bray said there is an increase in auto theft in the wintertime when residents leave their keys in the car to keep it running and warm in the cold. . Dave Parsons / Global News

With the chilly weather making its way through the province and people heading outside of the city for the holidays, there may be more opportunities for crime.

Regina Police chief Evan Bray said the force does see an increase in auto theft in the wintertime when residents leave their keys in the car to keep it running and warm in the cold.

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Bray explained people often use stolen vehicles to commit crimes, and sometimes these people may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol or have weapons.

“It is an absolute community risk. I think it’s just something that we need to be aware of to try and mitigate that risk for the community and do what we can to prevent that from happening,” Bray told reporters.

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Bray also had tips for people who may not be home over the holidays.

“I think it really comes down to thinking with a crime prevention mind,” Bray said.

Bray advised residents who aren’t home to have someone grab their mail, shovel their driveway and sidewalk, and leave some lights on to make it look like they are home.

He added property crime has generally “rebounded” this year.

“We saw it dip significantly through COVID. Stolen vehicles, attempt theft of vehicles, attempt theft from vehicles — those types of things were really down in 2020, but in 2021 we’ve seen those numbers go back up.”

Bray added the cases may not be where they normally were before the pandemic, but the police service has seen them increase to a more regular rate.

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Bray believes the uptick in cases is related to people’s behaviour and activities.

“In 2020, we saw a lot of people staying home, working from home, and so the opportunities weren’t there the same way that we’re seeing now with people going to work, shopping, going to restaurants, and it’s creating opportunities for those property crimes to happen.”

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