Calgary, AB,

Don't Let a Thief Steal Your Holidays

Nothing brings a thief more joy than a car or home full of shopping bags and gifts. Most thefts from vehicles and homes are crimes of opportunity and can be prevented. When you’re out shopping, so are criminals.

To help prevent holiday related crimes, the Calgary Police Service, in partnership with the Alberta Motor Association, and Calgary Transit Public Safety and Enforcement are once again launching Operation Christmas Presence.

This initiative focusses on reminding the public to keep purchases and other goods out of sight in their vehicles and homes, giving thieves less of a reason to break in.

Along with an increased presence in several popular shopping centres and Calgary Transit parking lots, partners will be talking to the public about theft from vehicles, and distributing All Valuables Removed placards.

The placards are free to the public and were created for vehicle owners to use as a prevention measure. They are intended to encourage vehicle owners to think twice about what they are leaving in their vehicles and to dissuade would-be thieves from needlessly breaking into or damaging a vehicle that has nothing of value in it.

Vehicle owners can take precautions to decrease the chance of becoming a victim:

  • ensure your vehicle is properly secure before entering the mall;
  • ensure all valuables are out of sight;
  • store all purchases in the trunk of your vehicle;
  • if you are spending a long time in the mall, periodically check on your vehicle;
  • use a steering wheel lock and/or car alarm;
  • don’t leave your keys in the car while it is running; and
  • park your vehicle in a well-lit, well-travelled area.

Homeowners can take precautions to decrease the chance of becoming a victim:

  • Don’t openly display your Christmas tree and gifts in the front window so it’s easily visible from the street. Also, don’t keep receipts with your presents either, as this could enable a thief to return what you’ve bought in exchange for cash.
  • Use a timer and your lights when you are away and ask a neighbour to keep the front of your home clear of papers and debris.
  • Don’t hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots, or above door ledges. Instead give the spare key to a trusted neighbour.
  • Don’t leave a descriptive telephone answering machine message like, “You’ve reached the Smith home…we’re away for the Christmas holidays…please leave a message.” 
  • After Christmas, don’t pile up empty gift boxes from your new items on the street for the garbage man. Thieves appreciate knowing that you have expensive gifts inside for them to steal. 

Media advisory to follow