Vehicle Thefts on the Rise

Vehicle Thefts on the Rise—AMA & Medicine Hat Police Service say it’s time to Lock It or Lose It

Alberta leads the country in vehicle thefts, accounting for more than a quarter (29 per cent) of all thefts in Canada, according to the most recent Statistics Canada’s Uniform Crime Reporting Survey. That’s almost 23,000 motor vehicles stolen – more than three times the national average and a whopping 62 vehicles a day. Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS) reported more than 150 stolen vehicles in 2017, higher than the 120 vehicles stolen in 2016.

AMA is calling attention to this growing concern with Lock It or Lose It, a new public awareness campaign in partnership with local police services. The campaign encourages people to be mindful of vehicle theft and the simple steps they can take to prevent it – remove the keys, hide or remove all valuables, and lock it up!

“The rise of vehicle thefts in Alberta is staggering and, in many cases, we can do much more to prevent it,” says Jeff Kasbrick, vice president of government and stakeholder relations at the AMA. “Unlocked doors or keys in the ignition are an open invitation for thieves to steal your vehicle. Lock It or Lose It is a reminder to take simple steps to curb vehicle theft and take away the welcome mat for thieves.”

Theft from vehicles (under $5,000) is also a concern, though in Medicine Hat, the numbers dipped. In 2017, MHPS reported over 525 incidents, down from 641 in 2016. Beyond valuables taken from vehicles, items with personal information, such as insurance papers and vehicle registration are a target and open the window to identity theft and fraud. Garage door openers and keys left in the vehicle can also increase the risk of home burglaries.

“Most vehicle thefts are simply crimes of opportunity,” says Constable David Chow, with the Medicine Hat Police Service. “While our officers are working diligently to apprehend and charge offenders, doing so doesn’t eliminate the cost and inconvenience to the victim of the theft. Vehicle owners can take simple steps to protect themselves and their property.”

Lock It or Lose It is an initiative designed to increase Albertans’ awareness of vehicle theft and to arm them with some crime prevention tips. People are encouraged to spread the word and share their stories using the hashtag #lockitorloseit.

“We want people to get into the habit of locking their vehicles, removing all valuables and taking their keys with them,” says Kasbrick.” Even if you think you’re only stepping out for a moment, a lot can happen. It’s just not worth the risk, let alone the headache.” 

For more information:

  • Susan Boyd 
  • Manager, Corporate Communications
  • Alberta Motor Association
  • Ph: 587-785-3280
  • 1-888-960-NEWS (6397)


Rita Sittler
Administrative Services Manager
Medicine Hat Police Service
Ph: 403-529-8416