PEI

Summerside residents seeing spike in thefts from vehicles

Summerside Police say there’s been an abnormally high number of thefts from vehicles this fall, and they’re reminding residents to take precautions to keep their belongings safe.

Summerside Police say the number of reports has been above average this fall

'We would encourage everyone who is a victim of these types of crimes to report to police,' says Sgt. Jason Blacquiere with Summerside Police. (CBC)

Summerside Police say there's been an abnormally high number of thefts from vehicles this fall, and they're reminding residents to take precautions to keep their belongings safe.

"Generally we'd get at least a few reports a week," said Sgt. Jason Blacquiere with the Summerside Police.

Sgt. Jason Blacquiere with the Summerside Police says the force would normally expect a few reports of vehicle theft per week. Instead they're getting several reports each day. (Steve Bruce/CBC )

"The last few weeks we've been getting multiple per day, usually reported in the morning that their vehicle has been rifled through overnight or somebody's tried to get into their vehicles."

50 reports since Oct. 1

He said there have been 50 reported incidents since Oct. 1, and 26 of those occurred since the beginning of November.

Officials say the actual numbers are likely higher, as some people won't report the incident, or realize a theft has occurred.

Donna MacKay recently discovered someone had been inside her unlocked car, and stolen some spare change. She says it's the second time this year.

Summerside resident Donna MacKay says she's had items stolen from her car twice this year, and takes extra precautions now to keep her belongings safe. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

"Gone are the days when you left your car open and house open," said MacKay. "Now, it's lock everything."

MacKay said she's extra careful now about keeping her home and car locked, and leaves lights on through the night to deter thieves.

"They only go to the next subdivision, until they're caught, stopped and put away," said MacKay, who said it's discouraging and disappointing to see this continue to happen in her community.

"These are people's private homes, vehicles, their belongings, and people work hard for those things. They shouldn't have to go through this."  

'It's happening all the time'

Her neighbour Jamie Rodgerson has been hit too, both at home and at his business.

"We've seen it all over. Different contractors have had trailers stolen, tools stolen, it's happening all the time," he said.

Jamie Rodgerson says vehicles at both his home and business have been targeted, and he's installed surveillance cameras in the hopes of catching the culprits on video. (Steve Bruce/CBC )

"When you get there and realize it's your stuff, it hurts. My wife and I have two young boys. I work hard for the money I make,  and anytime something like this happens, it's another notch off your top dollar."

He recently installed some security cameras to try to catch the culprits.

"We've had four different instances where we've caught people on camera either at my place or my neighbour's," said Rodgerson, who said he's offered his videos to police to help apprehend those responsible.

Police ask residents to report every occurrence

Sgt. Blacquiere said that surveillance footage can be helpful and encourages anyone with this type of evidence to share it with police. He said it's also vital to report every incident.

"We would encourage everyone who is a victim of these types of crimes to report to police," said Blacquiere. "The investigations do not always end with charges being laid, however, we do take the complaints seriously and they are investigated."

He said in recent weeks, police have charged several repeat offenders who they believe could be responsible for some of the thefts.

He said he expects residents will see a drop in thefts once the individuals are dealt with in court, and potentially incarcerated.

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About the Author

Jessica Doria-Brown

Videojournalist

Jessica Doria-Brown is a videojournalist with CBC in P.E.I. Originally from Toronto, Jessica has worked for CBC in Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, and Ontario.