Break-ins on the rise in Nanaimo

Police warn businesses, residents to hide valuables and secure premises.

Nanaimo RCMP are warning businesses and residents to be extra vigilant in securing their property after a series of break-ins in the city.

Police say since March 20 there have been 36 confirmed break-ins in Nanaimo. Of those, 14 were businesses, 14 were homes and the remaining six were sheds, garages or carports.

In the same period last year there were 16 break-ins.

According to a map provided by the RCMP, business break-ins occurred evenly from south to north, with many of them not far from the Island Highway corridor. Residential break-ins were mostly in central and south Nanaimo, with two exceptions in north Nanaimo.

Commercial break-ins have been described as smash-and-grabs late at night over the course of the week. Police say thieves are using blunt objects to smash open doors. Once inside, the take anything of value that is easily accessible, specifically electronics.

“Business owners need to look at their businesses like thieves do and take the necessary steps to lock up and secure items a thief would target,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

Residential homes are being entered mostly through unlocked windows and doors, including patio doors, and home owners are being reminded that during nice weather, it is important to secure a house when nobody is home.

Small items and electronics are also being targeted in these cases.

Police recommend store owners place signs in their windows alerting would-be thieves there is no cash on site, and that electronics are locked away and tills left open. Business owners should also be aware of visitors acting suspiciously as criminals often stop by a day or two before breaking in to get an idea of the layout of the store.

RCMP are asking anybody who holds information relating to the recent break-ins call the Nanaimo detachment at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.crimestoppers.com.