Saskatchewan

Arson, car thefts increase in Regina

Auto thefts in Regina are up this year, amid reports too many people are leaving their car keys available.

Overall crime rate up 2% in 1st 10 months of 2015

Keys left in cars make auto theft easy, police say. 1:37

Auto thefts in Regina are up this year, amid reports too many people are leaving their car keys available.

Arson is also way up — by 73 per cent — although the total number of offences is relatively small: 83 cases in 2015 compared to 48 in 2014.

According to the October crime report going to today's board of police commissioner meeting this morning, the overall crime rate went up 2 per cent in the first 10 months of 2015 compared to the same period last year.

There have been 105 more stolen vehicles in 2015 (year to date), an increase of 15.6 per cent.

The Regina Police Service says it has a stolen auto strategy in place and it's paying constant attention to the issue.

In recent years, police have said there are too many vehicles being stolen because people are leaving them unlocked and leaving keys inside or nearby.

"It's something that's obviously preventable," Regina's police chief Troy Hagen said Wednesday. "It's an easy fix from a crime prevention perspective."

Last weekend alone, police noted Wednesday, 19 vehicles were stolen in Regina and in 12 of those cases, the keys were left in unlocked vehicles.

"I'm hopeful that — of course through time and further education — we'll see a shift in behaviour," Hagen added.

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