Albertans hit by 29% of all vehicle thefts in Canada, prompting Lock it or Lose It campaign
Alberta Motor Association wants more drivers to make it less easy for thieves to steal vehicles
Vehicle thefts in Alberta are way above the national average, accounting for 29 per cent of all such crimes across the country, according to Statistics Canada.
To put that in hard figures, it means there were 23,000 vehicles stolen in Alberta in 2016.
That's an average of 62 every day.
Those figures are the reason the Alberta Motor Association is launching an awareness campaign — Lock It or Lose It — reminding drivers to lock their cars and remove their valuables.
Crime of convenience
Jeff Kasbrick, the vice-president of government and stakeholder relations with the AMA, says too often thefts are crimes of convenience, perpetrated when someone finds a car unlocked or idling with the keys inside.
"Let's think about it this way: never would any of us be willing to throw a duffel bag with $50,000 in it unattended in a parking lot. That is crazy to any of us," he said.
"However, we often will actually do the exact same thing when it comes to a different form of that $50,000, which is in so many cases our vehicle, or somewhere around that price point."
According to the AMA, an average of 138 vehicles were stolen in Calgary each week in 2016. The story is a bit better in Edmonton, where 97 were taken each week.
When it comes to theft of items left in cars, Calgary recorded an average of 282 incidents each week, while Edmonton had 205.
"There are no two ways about this issue. We've got a real problem on our hands when it comes to vehicle theft and theft from vehicles in this province," said Kasbrick.