Police releasing footage of stolen vehicles to demonstrate impact on public safety
The Calgary Police Service continues to respond to hundreds of stolen vehicle reports every week that each requires multiple resources to recover and often have a considerable impact on public safety.
In 2016, there were 4,879 reported stolen vehicles, up 51 per cent from the five-year average. Typically, one in four stolen vehicles were taken with the keys inside. Yesterday morning alone, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, fourteen vehicles were stolen that were left running with the keys inside.
Aside from the dangerous driving that often occurs when a vehicle is stolen, these vehicles are also known to be used as a means to commit robberies, break and enters and drug crimes. Of significant concern is the impact stolen vehicles can have on both public and officer safety.
To demonstrate this concern, the Service is releasing HAWCS surveillance footage showing offenders putting citizens, police and their own lives at risk. HAWCS is often used as the safest option to track stolen vehicles that are being driven in a reckless manner.
This footage shows just a few examples of the incidents that are occurring more commonly throughout the city. The examples include a vehicle that narrowly misses a pedestrian on a sidewalk, two carjackings, and vehicles being driven at high rates of speed, into oncoming traffic and through red lights.
Beyond the risk to public safety, each stolen vehicle requires a significant amount of police resources to track, recover, investigate and lay charges. In addition to the time spent on these calls by specialty resources including HAWCS, District Operations Teams and members from the Canine and Tactical Units, patrol officers are also involved in a stolen vehicle response, preventing them from taking on other priority calls for service.
Citizens are encouraged to help reduce the impact stolen vehicles have on the community by:
- Report suspicious people and activity immediately by calling 403-266-1234 or 9-1-1 for a crime in progress.
- Never leave a vehicle running and unattended. Vehicles with push-button starts can easily be driven away if a thief gets into the vehicle. Not all vehicles are equipped with an immobilizer, which shuts off a vehicle if it is driven a certain distance away from the corresponding key fob.
- Install a remote starter if possible.
- Use a steering wheel lock to deter thieves.
- Always keep your vehicle locked. Never leave spare keys or garage door openers in or around your vehicle.
- Never leave children unattended in a running vehicle.