Officials from the B.C. government, RCMP, and ICBC kicked off 'auto crime enforcement month' on Thursday.
RCMP Supt. Brendan Fitzpatrick said theft from vehicles is a huge issue for law enforcement agencies in B.C., and there was a one per cent increase of such incidents in 2015, compared with 2014.
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"It's the most common type of auto crime. It's the most common type of crime and it affects all jurisdictions across the province," he said at the month-long campaign's kick-off in Vancouver.
The team that works to cut down on auto theft incidents in the province is known as the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team, or IMPACT.
"Over the 10 years since IMPACT has been in existence, auto theft has reduced 75 per cent. In 2013-2014 we saw that, kind of, backwards trend and it increased by 32 per cent," said Fitzpatrick.
"The whole team is committed to trying to turn that around, so in the last year they've reduced auto theft by two per cent from the year before."
But with thieves always on the lookout for something to steal, officials are using the slogan, 'don't leave your keys for thieves,' saying car owners often fall victim after leaving a garage door opener or valet key in the vehicle.
Most commonly stolen items
IMPACT has come up with a list of the most commonly stolen items from vehicles:
- Personal electronics, including tablets, laptops, ipods, GPS units.
- Work tools.
- Credit cards and identification.
- Stereo equipment.
- Cash and change.
- Car parts and accessories.
- Garage door openers.
Top 10 ways to protect your vehicle and belongings:
- Use a vehicle anti-theft device.
- Don't leave any valuables in your car.
- When items are left in your car, keep them out of sight.
- Hide items in your car before reaching your destination.
- Keep spare keys in your wallet, not in your car, and remove valet keys.
- Use a motion sensor light in your driveway and don't leave the garage door opener in your car if it's parked outside. Elsewhere, park in busy, well-lit areas.
- When passing through an automatic gate, make sure the gate closes behind you without anybody sneaking in.
- Engrave your stereo and other auto accessories with your driver's license number.
- When fuelling your vehicle, keep your car keys with you and lock the doors when you go in to pay.
- Always close your windows and lock your door.
IMPACT also released an updated list of its most wanted auto crime suspects in alphabetical order.