Nanaimo RCMP are reminding vehicle owners to lock doors and remove valuables. (News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo RCMP are reminding vehicle owners to lock doors and remove valuables. (News Bulletin file)

Vehicle break-ins decreasing, but still too frequent, say Nanaimo RCMP

Police offer crime prevention tips after more than 1,000 thefts from vehicles so far in 2021

Thefts from vehicles are decreasing, but those kinds of crimes are still happening too frequently, say police.

According to a Nanaimo RCMP press release, the city is on pace for 1,300 incidents of theft from vehicles in 2021, which would be down a little from 1,593 reported in 2020.

RCMP provided statistics for this past October as an example, noting that during that month, 17 thefts were reported downtown , 16 in the hospital area, 15 in the area of Buttertubs Marsh and Harewood, eight near Divers Lake, seven in the Country Club Centre area and six in and around Uplands Drive.

Police said the majority of the thefts involved items being stolen from vehicles that had been left unlocked.

While fewer vehicle break-ins are anticipated for this year, Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson, said numbers can vary year to year – there were 2,702 in 2019 and 2,182 in 2018, according to the press release.

The 2020 year was an anomaly as the City of Nanaimo, and elsewhere, were in the grips of ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns, said the press release. As a result, many vehicles and their owners, were at home. Although restrictions have lessened in 2021, many people are choosing to use home delivery for their meals and thus, their vehicles are not being left in public parking spots where criminals like to check out, the press release said.

Police also point out that transient prolific offenders can skew numbers. Prolific offenders can move in and out of Nanaimo, said the press release, and cause significant spikes in crimes. Drops can also occur when the offender moves on or is incarcerated.

Police recommend people remove all valuables from vehicles, lock vehicles, park in well-lit areas, ensure items are out of sight in vehicles, and report suspicious activity to police, not just via social media. It is important to have a record so police can determine if a crime pattern is developing, the press release said.

“We continue to treat theft from vehicles as one of our priorities and have dedicated resources in place, including bait cars and other covert means to combat it,” said O’Brien.

Anyone with questions or concerns is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP Community Policing at 250-755-3257 or e-mail nanaimo_media@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.

RELATED: Safety audits to study crime in Nanaimo neighbourhoods


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