Calgary, AB,

Auto thieves look for crimes of opportunity

The Calgary Police Service is once again reminding citizens to keep their vehicle secured if they are warming it up.

With temperatures dropping, vehicle thieves don’t have to wait long for their next opportunity. Police are asking Calgarians to take this opportunity away by making sure they take their keys with them anytime they leave their vehicle. It takes less than 30 seconds for someone to see a vehicle running and drive away with it.

Since midnight on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, 11 vehicles were stolen while they were left unattended to warm up.

Citizens with keyless ignitions should also be aware that their vehicles may be vulnerable when idling. At least one of the vehicles stolen while warming up had a keyless ignition and was left unlocked. Though the keys were not in the vehicle, the offender still managed to drive away with the car. Not all vehicles with keyless ignitions are equipped with an immobilizer, which would shut off a vehicle if it is driven a certain distance away from the key fob.

More than being a massive inconvenience, having a vehicle stolen can put an owner at risk of further victimization. When stealing a vehicle, offenders are also driving away with bank cards, credit cards, identification documents, garage door openers and keys that can give them access to the victim’s residence or other vehicles.

Stolen vehicles can also have a significant impact on both public safety and police resources. Last week, on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, at approximately 5:50 a.m., a vehicle that was left running and unlocked in the city’s northeast was stolen. Officers located a man driving the vehicle the next day at approximately 2:30 a.m. HAWCS was utilized to track the stolen vehicle before occupants were taken into custody by RCMP near Cochrane. This incident was highly dynamic and the stolen vehicle was observed to be running red lights and driving at excessive speeds. In addition to CPS resources, members from four RCMP detachments were also involved in responding to this incident. In total, over 30 CPS and RCMP members were required to bring this call to a safe resolution. One man was charged in relation to this incident.

Citizens are reminded to:

  • Never leave a running vehicle unattended. If your keys must be in the ignition to warm it up, citizens should remain with their vehicle.
  • Install a remote starter if possible, however, always make sure the vehicle is locked.
  • Use a steering wheel lock to deter thieves.
  • Never leave children unattended in a running vehicle.
  • Never leave spare keys or garage door openers in or around your vehicle. If a garage door opener goes missing at any time, the garage door should be immediately recoded.
  • If your keys are stolen, immediately change the locks for the keys that have gone missing, including residences and vehicles.
  • Always lock the man door leading from a garage into a residence.