Calgary, AB,

Police Launch Operation Cold Start

The Calgary Police Service is officially launching Operation Cold Start for the third consecutive year. Operation Cold Start will run Monday, Jan 28, 2019 to Friday, Feb. 1, 2019.

Operation Cold Start is a crime prevention initiative that was started in December 2016 to address the high number of vehicles that are left running in our city. As part of the operation, officers patrol communities looking for vehicles that are easy targets for thieves because they are left running and unattended. When officers find these easy targets, they take the opportunity to educate the driver about how quickly vehicles can be stolen and how dangerous their car could become in the hands of a criminal.

In 2018, there were 5,938 passenger vehicles stolen in Calgary, which is equivalent to just over 16 vehicles per day. A significant number of these stolen vehicles were taken with the vehicle’s own key and are completely preventable.

“Many people believe that their vehicle isn’t going to be stolen because they live on a quiet street or are only leaving it unattended for a minute,” says Staff Sergeant Graeme Smiley of the CPS District Support Unit. “However, the reality is that we see these type of vehicle thefts all across the city and it only takes a couple of seconds to happen. Stolen vehicles pose a significant risk to public safety and we need the community’s help to prevent these easy thefts. We recommend citizens always use a remote starter or stay with their vehicle while it warms up.”

Auto theft offenders routinely engage in high-risk criminal driving behaviour, have little regard for the safety of Calgarians, and do not care if a vehicle becomes damaged or involved in a collision. Forty per cent of all stolen vehicles that were recovered in 2018 were reported to be damaged or involved in a collision.

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.
  • 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.

Daily Operation Cold Start stats will be sent out through the Service’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.