(HURON COUNTY, ON) - Huron County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) put out a plea to vehicle owners back in April of this year, we asked, "Help Us, Help You!" The request was straight forward; lock up your vehicle and remove the keys from your vehicle when not in use. Such a simple, effortless practice can make all the difference in reducing the number of stolen vehicles, however it seems many may have missed the message or simply just won't change their habits.
A look at the stolen vehicle occurrences in Huron County over the last few weeks (June 1 to July 7) should get the attention of vehicle owners. There were a total of 19 stolen vehicles during this time frame, which averages out to about one stolen vehicle every other day.
Trucks seem to be the favourite vehicle to steal for thieves as 13 were stolen. Three cars, two motor-bikes and one All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) were also stolen. Thieves weren't too picky as to where the vehicles were stolen from as 13 were stolen from urban areas and six were taken from rural properties.
The majority of the vehicles were stolen under the cover of darkness between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., as 15 were stolen at night, versus four taken during daylight hours.
And once again, to nobody's surprise the statistics reinforce the message that vehicle theft is a crime of opportunity as a whopping 84% (16 out of 19) of the stolen vehicles were left unlocked or not secured in any fashion and to make it even easier for the thieves, nearly all of the stolen vehicles had the keys left in them.
"We are asking for the public to help us reduce these opportunistic thefts. Please think twice before leaving your vehicle unlocked, with the keys readily accessible. Changing your routine, by securing your vehicle and pocketing your keys, can go a long way in preventing these thefts. Don't take unnecessary risks. Together, with your help, we can curb the number of stolen vehicles and associated crimes. We can't do it alone, so please Help Us, Help You".
- Huron County OPP Staff Sergeant - Dave SINKO
Stolen vehicles are just the start of the problem since these desperate thieves often use the vehicle to commit other crimes in our community such as driving dangerously, failing to stop for police, using the vehicle to transport illegal drugs and using it as a means of transportation to commit break, enter and thefts.
Not only are owners failing to lock up their vehicles they are routinely failing to remove valuables from their vehicle. Items such as power tools, electronic devices, purses, wallets, sunglasses, passports, medication and loose change are commonly stolen. If your wallet or purse is stolen not only are you out some cash but your identification is in the hands of a criminal……needless to say, you may find yourself dealing with an identity theft nightmare.
AUTO THEFT PROTECTION TIPS
Always lock your vehicle doors and windows.
Never leave your keys in the vehicle or in an easily accessible area
Never leave your vehicle unattended while it is running
If you have a garage, use it and lock the garage as well as your vehicle inside
Always park your vehicle in a well-lit area
Never leave valuable objects or packages in full view. Put them in the trunk if you have to leave them in your vehicle.
Never leave your purse or wallet in your vehicle.
For more crime prevention tips and information on the Lock it or Lose It program visit www.opp.ca.
Crime prevention involves all of us working together to make our homes, neighbourhoods and workplaces healthy and safe. The reality is we simply can't do it all alone. So we are kindly asking, Help Us Help You!