Theft from vehicles is up more than 50 per cent in Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP warn public to take security precautions to fight trend expected to rise over holidays

Police are warning the public to secure their vehicles and belongings in light of a big jump in vehicle break-in figures. News Bulletin file photo

Nanaimo RCMP are warning the public that thefts from vehicles in this city have taken a big jump over 2016 figures – a trend the police force expects to worsen over the holiday season.

Vehicle break-ins are up 57 per cent compared to last year. From Aug. to Nov. 25 there were 542 thefts from vehicles reported to police, compared to 308 thefts documented for the same period in 2016.

“Thieves will steal anything in plain view,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in a press release. “They will break windows, punch out door locks and do significant damage to take as little as one loonie. We also hear very sad stories of sentimental items being stolen from vehicles. Thieves don’t care and will simply dispose of priceless family heirlooms in the garbage if it cannot be redeemed for cash or drugs.”

Police recently reported one thief, caught after breaking into two RCMP bait cars, had a “shopping list” of items she was allegedly looking to steal.

The public needs to be aware that thieves will target busy parking lots where they can go about their business unnoticed. They will wait for an unsuspecting drivers to park their vehicles and break into them moments later.

Items preferred by thieves are small and easily concealed such as electronics, cellphones, perfume, makeup, sunglasses, clothing and wallets.

Police recommend the following tips to keep vehicles and their contents secure:

Anything left in visible in a vehicle is a target for thieves.

Always lock all doors and windows when leaving a vehicle.

Make sure nothing is ever left inside your vehicle that can be used to access your home, such as automatic garage door openers or house keys.

Try to park in areas where there is lots of foot traffic.

If dropping off gifts and then continuing with shopping, place all items in the trunk of vehicle where they are out of sight.

When parking, look around to see who may be watching the vehicle and if anyone or anything appears suspicious, move on and find parking elsewhere.

Report suspicious activity to police immediately.

Anyone with information on any crimes in Nanaimo is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. To remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers at text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or call 1-800-222-8477.

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