The third round of Crime Prevention’s Help End Auto Theft blitz, also known as GP HEAT, goes today and Saturday in both residential and retail areas of Grande Prairie.
Cheryl George with Crime Prevention says they will be grading some vehicles on auto theft.
“We just put a notice on the windshield that has some tips on how to protect yourself. And whether their vehicle was an easy target, meaning there was things left out for people to see, or whether it was a hard target, everything was put away and no reason for a thief to go into a vehicle.”
George assures the public they do not touch any of the vehicles.
Additionally, theft from vehicles has surpassed the theft of vehicles themselves in Grande Prairie.
“With the RCMP stats, there’s more theft that’s happening where vehicles are being broken into and things are being stolen. The theft of vehicles, like actual vehicles being stolen, is down. But the theft from vehicles has risen,” George explained.
It is not always smooth sailing with the initiative as there was some negativity directed towards the blitz following the first two times they were out in the community.
“Negative feedback is ok, because it gets people talking,” said George. “Some of the feeds that were on social media was this negative condonation, and other people were jumping in and saying ‘hey, it’s good information, like, what do you care?’. It’s information that’s being put out there for everybody. Everybody benefits from this type of thing.”
They will be out Friday between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Saturday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Tips to prevent auto theft include never leaving keys in your vehicle, to not leave valuables in plain sight, park in well-lit, highly visible areas when possible, ensure windows are closed and doors locked before leaving your vehicle unattended, use your garage if you have one and be sure to report any suspicious behaviour to authorities.
George adds they will be handing out information on distracted driving as they continue that campaign as well.
(Photo courtesy of wheels.ca)