Increase in Vehicle Theft
The Medicine Hat Police Service is actively engaged in a number of initiatives aimed at reducing vehicle thefts in Medicine Hat. Year-to-date there have been 107 reports of stolen vehicles in 2017, as compared to 67 in the same period in 2016.
Vehicle thefts have occurred in all areas of the city, involving all makes and models of vehicles, with the only common denominator being that the vehicle was left running/unlocked or with the keys easily accessible.
The majority of stolen vehicles are recovered a short time later. Most vehicle thefts are simply a crime of opportunity, with the criminals taking advantage of an easy target and using thevehicle to aid in committing other crimes such as; break and enters, robberies and drug trafficking.
The members of the MHPS are working diligently to apprehend and charge offenders. However, successfully charging and prosecuting offenders doesn’t remove the cost and inconvenience to the victim of vehicle theft and higher insurance costs for all vehicle owners. There are several ways to prevent vehicle theft including:
· Do not leave your vehicle running. Under no circumstances should you leave your vehicle unattended while running with the keys in the ignition.
· Lock your vehicle. Close the windows and sunroof all the way. Where possible, leave your vehicle in a locked garage and lock your vehicle even when it is in the locked garage.
· No spare keys. Do not leave a spare key hidden in the vehicle. Thieves look for spare keys and once they break into your vehicle, they know all of the hiding spots.
· Do not leave items visible in your vehicle. This includes; parcels, cell phones, GPS devices, laptops, clothing or money. Thieves can be attracted to your car because of personal items left in plain sight.
· Be aware of where you park. Park in well-lit parking lots or on a street with lots of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This will help to deter car thieves.
· Consider installing an aftermarket car alarm if your vehicle is not already equipped with one.
Concerned and observant residents are another important part of preventing vehicle theft. If you see something suspicious in your neighborhood, call the MHPS at 403-529-8481. If you see a crime in progress call 9-1-1.
Support Services Division
Medicine Hat Police Service