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Car theft is a big problem across the Lower Mainland: police

Abbotsford Theft from Autos map for Jan. 2015

LOWER MAINLAND (NEWS1130) – Property crime has been climbing steadily across almost every city on the Lower Mainland and there is one specific area that sticks out to officers around the region.

They say there are too many people having their stuff taken from their vehicles or their car is being stolen altogether.

In Vancouver during the month of January more than 730 theft from auto complaints were filed and nearly 90 cars were stolen.

“Theft from auto has always been a problem. We have seen numbers rising recently and we’ve also actually seen theft of auto rising, which is something we haven’t seen in a very long time,” explains VPD Constable Brian Montague.

“If you look at 2004, for example, we had about 18,000 theft from vehicle cases. We had about 6,000 theft of cars that same year. But if you compare that to last year’s year-end numbers, we had 9,600 theft from auto and theft of cars is at about 1,300. So, if you look long-term, the numbers are way down, but if you look recently in just the last year and a half or so — those numbers are rising again.”

“We’re always trying to figure out how to keep the numbers lower with enforcement and education,” adds Montague.

Abbotsford theft of auto map  for Jan. 2015
Abbotsford Theft of Auto map for Jan. 2015

Surrey RCMP recently released its fourth quarter stats for 2014 and it showed there had been increase of 22 per cent in property crime, mostly driven by motor vehicle crimes.

In Abbotsford, auto crime is up so far this year compared to 2014. The city has seen a 25 per cent jump in theft from vehicles and there have been 44 stolen cars.

“Obviously, there are thieves who are going to be opportunistic and there are a group of people that are prolific in their crimes. But certainly, the citizens of Abbotsford can help us lower some of these troubling statistics by simply locking their vehicles, making sure they remove their valuables from their vehicles,” says Constable Ian MacDonald.

“When we talk to people, often times they say they were in a rush, they were busy. They’re required to carry a lot of their belongings with them for the nature of their work and this is the one time they forgot to lock their vehicle. The thieves are looking for that one time and they are trying doors up and down your street and other streets and if they get lucky and that door opens, you are 100 per cent likely to have something stolen,” he adds.

Abbotsford Police hands out free anti-theft devices to owners of the five most commonly stolen vehicles.

Anyone who owns a pre-2002 Honda Civic or Accord, Ford Pick-up, Dodge Pick-up, or Dodge Caravan can drop by the community police office on Marshall Road to pick one up. The office is open Monday to Friday until 4:30 p.m.

For a look at Vancouver’s crime rate statistics for 2009-2014 click here.