Calgary, AB,

Operation Cold Start comes to an end

Over the past week, Calgary Police Service officers have provided education to almost 900 citizens in an attempt to reduce stolen vehicles throughout the city.

During the first three quarters of this year, 4,190 vehicles were stolen in Calgary, which is 47 per cent higher than the five-year average. Typically, one in four stolen vehicles had their keys left inside of them when they were taken.

In response to this concerning trend, the Service began Operation Cold Start as a means to educate citizens about the dangers of leaving their vehicles unlocked while they warm up their cars. As a part of the operation, officers on patrol began recording the number of vehicles they came across that were left unlocked with the keys inside of them. In each situation, officers took the opportunity to educate citizens so they didn’t become a victim of crime, and in many cases Calgarians had no idea how at risk they were.

Operation Cold Start concluded on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, however officers will continue to engage in crime prevention strategies and educate citizens in their District.

Throughout Operation Cold Start, 885 vehicles were found unlocked and running with the keys inside between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Of note on the mornings that Operation Cold Start was running, 31 vehicles were stolen as a result of being left unlocked and running with the keys inside.

Stolen vehicles continue to be a problem for the city and can often have a great impact to public safety. Stolen vehicles are known to be linked to other crimes, including robberies, break and enters, drug activity and high-risk criminal driving behaviours.

This year the Service recovered 90 per cent of the vehicles reported stolen, however each of these incidents often takes multiple resources to resolve.

During the second day of Operation Cold Start, a vehicle that was left unlocked and running with the key in the ignition was taken from the community of Queensland. Twenty minutes later, this vehicle was dumped and a second vehicle, also left unlocked and running with the keys in the ignition, was taken by the same offender in the community of Parkland. Two hours later, officers were able to locate the vehicle and arrest the offender successfully with assistance from patrol officers, the Canine Unit and the District Operations Team. The offender was charged with two counts of theft of motor vehicle, three counts of breach of probation, possession of a prohibited weapon and driving without insurance.

We’d like to remind citizens who are planning on warming up their vehicle to:

  • Never leave your vehicle unattended
  • Use a remote starter whenever possible
  • Use a steering wheel lock to deter thieves
  • Never leave spare keys or garage door openers in or around your vehicle
  • If nothing else, always keep your vehicle locked by using a spare set of keys
  • Never leave children unattended in a running vehicle