The Merritt RCMP is reporting a recent rise in theft from vehicle calls.
“We have been busy to say the least,” said Sergeant Josh Roda.
“We saw a recent increase in theft from vehicle files, where we were able to apprehend one of the perpetrators. It appears that most of the offenders are coming from out of town. The CPO is doing a 9 p.m. routine campaign to encourage the public to lock their vehicles and doors at night.”
Despite the most recent increase, Roda did say that from-vehicle thefts were down significantly compared to last year’s reports.
“Overall, our thefts from vehicles are down over 50% from last year.”
The Herald reached out to Marlene Jones, CPO coordinator, for an update on the ‘9 p.m. routine’.
“We’re hoping that people will set an alarm on their phone, and then when the alarm goes off take a moment to think,” explained Jones.
“Did I lock the car? Did I bring my purse in? Have I locked the shed? Are my exterior lights on? Are my windows shut? Have I closed the overhead garage door? Sometimes those are accidentally left open because somebody thought that someone else closed it.”
If you get into the habit of checking that these things are done, Jones said you are less likely to forget something.
“You do a little check, you clean up your loose ends, and then you can settle in for the night, so you’re not an easy target.”
While Jones said that shaming victims or potential victims isn’t the goal, RCMP have noted that many times when they receive a call about a theft from a vehicle, the vehicle was unlocked.
“Sometimes people say they leave their vehicle open because they don’t want them to break a window,” said Jones.
“But, if your vehicle is cleaned out, where you can’t see anything, there is less of a chance that someone is going to break a window. If you accidentally leave a purse or a wallet in view and your car is locked, yes there is a higher chance that somebody might break that window.”
Jones advised that people also keep their vehicles clean, so that thieves can easily see that there is nothing of value inside.
“If your vehicle is full of stuff that you might think is garbage, like leftover food containers, stuff like that, at night when somebody is just looking through the window, that might look like it’s something of value,” said Jones.
“And they may take a chance. So, we’re saying clean out your vehicle as one of these things, too, and then lock it.”
Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald