Since January 1st, 44 vehicles were stolen from the Olds RCMP detachment area. Almost half of these vehicles were stolen when they were left running and unattended, or with keys left inside the vehicle. During the same period, there were 64 reports of thefts from vehicles in the detachment area. 50 of those incidents alone were within the town of Olds.
Olds, Alberta ~ On Saturday, August 10th, members of the Olds RCMP and Citizens On Patrol (C.O.P.) spent the afternoon checking vehicles in business parking lots to assess if vehicles, or the contents, were easy targets for thieves.
The crime prevention awareness initiative is called H.E.A.T. - Help End Auto Theft.
Police officers and C.O.P volunteers looked in windows to determine if keys and valuables were removed and doors locked. Notices were left on windshields either indicating that the driver had done a good job of making the vehicle a harder target for thieves, or that the vehicle was an easier target based on what could be seen through the window. The information tickets also provided auto theft tips such as parking in well-lit areas, removing keys and valuables from the vehicles, locking doors and reporting suspicious activity to police.
Of the 276 vehicles checked, 158 were determined to be hard targets and 118 vehicles were viewed as easier targets for thieves. This was an improvement from what was observed during the H.E.A.T. program last year when the initiative found that easier targets outnumbered the vehicles observed to be more secure, harder targets.
"Very often, stolen vehicles are used by thieves to commit further property offences, such as break and enters or thefts in rural areas" said Olds RCMP Staff Sergeant Jim MacDonald. "If we take transportation out of the equation, it makes it much more difficult for a criminal to do criminal things".
He also reminds drivers that starting vehicles with a push button start system and walking away with the key fob does not mean the vehicle will become immobilized if a thief attempts to steal it. The engine shut off feature only works with remote starters. Most vehicles equipped with a push button start system will continue to drive without the fob present until the vehicle is turned off or runs out of gas.