Over the past few weeks, Terrace RCMP have released several reminders for residents to make sure their cars, bikes, and belongings are not broken into or stolen.
On July 17, police issued a press release with the hopes of reuniting property owners with their stolen or lost goods following a bust in what’s commonly known as ‘tent city’ north of Keith Avenue near the Skeena River. The items seized included fishing gear, chainsaws, bikes, and tools.
“Every summer police see an increase in thefts in seasonal recreational areas,” writes Cst. Crystal Evelyn in a press release.
Protect your belongings
Property left in driveways, carports, backyards, or out at summer properties are prime targets for thieves. Items such as boat motors, boats and trailers, personal water craft, dirt bikes, motorbikes, scooters, and ATVs should be stored and secured properly.
“Parking something in your driveway doesn’t make it safe,” says Terrace RCMP Staff Sergeant Michael Robinson. “Make the investment in some good locks and make sure you use them whenever your items are unattended.”
Many summer seasonal recreation items are portable, valuable, and popular with thieves.
Terrace RCMP have released some tips to help protect your summer from being ruined by a criminal.
• Do not store items on trailers.
• Clean out your garage so you can use it to store your valuable items inside.
• Purchase a trailer lock that cannot be cut by bolt cutters.
• If you are away from your seasonal property for an extended period of time ensure it is well locked, windows are secured, and valuable items are removed.
• Check your property periodically or make arrangements for someone to check it for you.
When using day use seasonal recreational areas ensure all valuables are removed from your vehicle, and ensure your vehicle is secured with an anti-theft device. Thieves don’t take a vacation but they wait for you to.
• Keep registrations papers with you and ensure your address even in the form of opened mail is not left in your vehicle.
• Never leave personal items including mobile phones, wallets, handbags or briefcases in sight and remove them from your vehicle whenever possible.
• Never leave your car running while it’s unattended – not even for a minute.
• Use an Auto Theft prevention device whenever possible.
• A self-alarming electronic immobilizer is one of the most effective forms of car security you can get but a basic wheel locking device is also inexpensive and will help keep your vehicle secure.
Prevent bike theft
There are a few preventative measures bicycle owners can take to protect their belongings.
529 Garage is a free theft-prevention program which allows bike owners to create an online profile featuring pictures of their bike, its serial number, and other details which make it unique. Each person who registers is also encouraged to place a Shield ID on their bike frame, a tamper-proof sticker with a seven-digit code.
Along with attending the detachment Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to register their bike in the theft-prevention program 529 Garage, there are other simple steps people can take to protect their property.
“One of the easiest ways to keep criminals away from your neighbourhood is to lock up your stuff,” says Staff Sgt. Michael Robinson. “The harder we make it to steal, the easier we make it for criminals to move on and look somewhere else.”
In 2018, Bike thefts increased by 186 per cent from 23 in 2017 to 66 in 2018 according to RCMP’s annual report.
Below are some tips to help prevent bike thefts.
• Record serial numbers (regardless of the value of the bike) so that they can be added to police computer records, helping bikes be identified if located.
• Most bike stores keep serial numbers and information of your purchased bike. Check with your local bike shop to obtain that information if your bike does get stolen.
• Photograph your bike, as a reference, to assist police in identification.
• Never leave your bike unlocked in public.
• Never lock your bike by the front wheel only.
• If storing your bike at home, store it in a safe place using a lock or on your property inside a locked area.
• If you are leaving your bikes unattended in the back of a vehicle, lock the bikes to your vehicle. Choose appropriate places to park.
Lock up your car
Every year, Terrace RCMP deals with numerous car shopper files. In many cases, people go to leave for work in the morning and find their unlocked vehicle had been entered overnight and rifled through, with anything of value stolen.
“Every time I get out of my vehicle I hit the lock button – it’s habit,” says Staff Sgt. Michael Robinson. “Stealing from a vehicle is a crime of opportunity. If the opportunity doesn’t exist, car shoppers generally move on to the next unlocked vehicle. Keeping your doors locked, windows up, and valuables elsewhere is usually all it takes to prevent your vehicle’s contents from being stolen.”
Below are some best practices to help keep car shoppers out of your vehicle.
• Do not leave any property in your vehicle or expect to find it gone when you return later. Thieves will break in for as little as a few coins or a cigarette lighter. If you absolutely must leave items in your vehicle, secure them in the trunk as many thieves routinely check the glove box and under the seat for hidden items. Typical items stolen from vehicles include purses, wallets, credit cards, GPS units, passports, house keys, cash, clothing and sunglasses.
• Do not leave any personal identification in an unattended vehicle or you could become a victim of identity theft. (includes drivers licence, financial documents, credit/debit information or any mail that could identify who you are) Often, the thieves are taking only identification and credit cards from purses, but leave the purse behind and the owner may not realize a theft has occurred until much later. Once armed with a few cards, thieves are able to then apply for, and receive loans in your name, additional credit cards, and cash advances. If you don’t notice the theft for a number of days, the damage done could be extensive.
• Invest in a good anti-theft device, particularly a passive immobilizer. Use a steering wheel lock every time you park your vehicle.
• Secure your license plates with bolts. Criminals commonly steal license plates and use them to avoid being identified while committing other crimes.
• Do not set the ‘Home’ function on your GPS device to your home address, but rather to a nearby intersection, thereby not allowing the suspects to know exactly where you live.
• Do not keep your garage door opener in your vehicle along with any identifying information as this could result in directing the suspects directly to your residence.
• If you have a garage, use it all the time when parking at home.
• Always wait for an automatic gate to close behind you when entering or leaving a controlled parking area.
• Do not keep spare keys to your vehicle in the vehicle. Police see this happen all the time. What would have been the theft of some change in the ashtray, turns into a theft of a vehicle.
• If you see any suspicious persons or activities near a vehicle, call the police. Try to get a description of the suspects and their vehicle (including license plate). Do not confront the suspects.
• Park in the open, visible areas. Avoid parking behind fences and hedges.
• At home, light your driveway at night. Elsewhere, park in well-lit areas near pedestrian traffic.
• Record the serial numbers of all items of value. The serial number is the best way police have of tracking property and returning it to the rightful owner.
• When fueling your vehicle, ensure that you have your vehicle’s key with you at all times and lock your vehicle when you go in to pay.
If you have information about crime contact the Terrace RCMP at (250)638-7400 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers by telephone at 1-800-222-TIPS, online at www.terracecrimestoppers.ca.