Theft from cars costs everyone; police run prevention campaign

According to the Insur­ance Bureau of Canada, auto theft is big business with economic and societal costs for all Cana­dians.

OPP Constable Mark Cloes reported that every year, more than 170,000 cars are stolen in Canada, and many hundreds of thousands more had articles stolen from inside the auto. Those crimes cost auto insurers and their policyholders more than $600-million a year in claims pay-outs, or about $43 per policy.

This is not a victimless crime – or just a property crime, said Cloes. Taxpayers pay more than $400-million in other costs, such as court costs and policing in an attempt to combat that. All told, the an­nual cost of this crime is more than $1-billion.

Auto theft and thefts from cars naturally increases over the holiday season as unsus­pecting victims’ carelessly leave newly purchased gifts in plain view, inside the car as they resume shopping.

The Wellington OPP, as part of its crime prevention strategy has been promoting its Lock it or Lose it campaign, reminding vehicle owners of protection tips to help reduce thefts and thefts from autos.

Those include:

– Never leave valuable items or packages in full view. Put them in the trunk.

– Try to park in well lit areas.

– Always close the vehicle windows, lock the doors, and pocket the key.

– Those with a garage should use it and lock the door, as well as the vehicle.

– Never leave a vehicle unattended while it is running.

Throughout the weekend of Nov. 15 and 16, members of the county OPP Auxiliary unit targeted parking lots in Elora and Fergus in Centre Welling­ton, as well as the MTO car pool lots in Morriston and Townline Roads of Puslinch Township. During that time, the Auxiliary members were checking for items in plain view, unlocked autos, and dis­tributed reminder cards to the owners of those autos.

Here are the statistics of what the OPP Auxiliary members:

– total checked: 1174;

– number found unlocked: 181;

– those with valuables visi­ble: 73;

– total reminder cards dis-tributed: 166; and

– total posters distributed to businesses: 121.

In Puslinch, the Auxiliary visited parking lots at County Road 46, Morriston, and Town­line Road at Highway 401 and the results were:

– total checked: 135;

– number found unlocked: 6;

– those with valuables visi­ble: 11;

– total reminder cards dis­tributed: 17; and

– total posters distributed to businesses: 13

The weekend totals were:

– number checked: 1309;

– number found unlocked: 187;

– those with valuables visi­ble: 84;

– total reminder cards dis­tributed: 183; and

– total posters distributed to businesses: 134.

Cloes concluded by following the easy protection tips, peo­ple can prevent thefts and may help to reduce the overall insurance costs and premiums.

On Nov. 23 and 24, members Auxiliary Unit targeted parking lots in the Mount For­est and Arthur area.

Here are the statistics:

In Mount Forest:       

– vehicles checked, 80       

– unlocked, 20;           

– locked with valuables, 3; and   

– flyers warnings left, 23;       

In Arthur:

– vehicles checked, 35;

– unlocked, 15;

– locked with valuables, 0;

The Auxiliary will con­tinue its spot checks in the other communities within the county in the coming weeks.