Calgary, AB,

Operation Cold Start launches across the province

For a sixth consecutive year, we are launching Operation Cold Start to combat the high number of auto thefts that occur during the winter months. This year, Operation Cold Start is being adopted by law enforcement agencies across Alberta.

Despite periods of warmer weather and many citizens staying home this year, we have had 284 vehicles stolen while left running and unattended since the beginning of November 2021.

These warm-up thefts are crimes of opportunity, where car thieves target vehicles that are left running and unattended. These thefts are preventable, contribute to the high rate of auto theft in our city and create significant risks to public safety.

To address these thefts, as part of Operation Cold Start, officers will be patrolling communities looking for vehicles left running and unattended, making easy targets for thieves. Officers will also be on the lookout for known prolific auto theft offenders, as well as suspicious persons and vehicles.

“There is no safe spot to leave your vehicle running and unattended, even for just a minute,” says Sgt. Nick Wilsher of the Calgary Police Service Crime Prevention Team. “These thieves target neighbourhoods and parking lots across our city and we are asking Calgarians to help prevent these thefts. A running vehicle can be stolen in less than 30 seconds.”

Stolen vehicles are often used by criminals to commit other crimes that victimize Calgarians, and while we are committed to holding those responsible accountable, we need the public’s help to reduce the number of preventable thefts.

“Any number of preventable crimes is too many,” says Sgt. Nick Wilsher. “A stolen vehicle may seem like a simple insurance claim to many, however, these crimes can have significant impacts for Calgarians.”

Citizens who are planning to warm up their vehicle are reminded to:

  • Never leave a running vehicle unattended if the keys are inside the vehicle, or if the vehicle has been started with a keyless ignition or push-button start.
  • Use a remote starter whenever possible and keep your vehicle locked.
  • If you are warming up your vehicle with the keys in the ignition or with a push-button start, stay with your vehicle.
  • Use a steering wheel lock to deter thieves.
  • Never leave spare keys or garage door openers in or around your vehicle.
  • Never leave children or pets in a running vehicle.
  • Do not leave valuables, including identity documents and bank cards, in a vehicle.
  • Report suspicious activity to police immediately by calling 403-266-1234 or 9-1-1 for crimes in progress.

Operation Cold Start is a crime prevention initiative started in December 2016, to address the high number of warm-up thefts in our city. Operation Cold Start stats will be sent out through the Service’s FacebookTwitter and Instagram accounts at the end of the week.