Vehicle owners in British Columbia are being encouraged to protect their property as part of Auto Crime Enforcement Month.

The Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT), the Province of British Columbia and Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) are warning drivers, ‘Don’t leave your keys for thieves.’

Minister of public safety and solicitor general Mike Morris said: “We all need to do our part to help IMPACT and other police agencies build on the gains we’ve made in reducing auto crime over the past decade. Remember our call to action – don’t leave your keys for thieves!”

IMPACTS’s data shows a two-percent decrease in auto theft over the past year after the first increase in 10 years in 2014.

“With changes in technology, thieves now need keys or fobs to steal newer model vehicles. Unfortunately, many people leave these in their vehicles,” said RCMP superintendent Brendan Fitzpatrick on behalf of IMPACT.

“We need to remind the public that even if items are not visible, car thieves will find them once they break in. We are seeing this particularly with valet keys, house keys and building fobs, hence our theme this year of ‘Don’t leave your keys for thieves’.

“It’s important we don’t let our guard down to protect ourselves from auto crime. Thieves are looking for opportunities to steal or break into your vehicle, so keep your keys secure at all times, lock your vehicle and remove valuables. We’ll continue to invest in auto crime prevention because less crime benefits everyone and helps control claims costs and keep rates as low as possible,” said Steve Yendall, vice president of Insurance and Driver Licensing at ICBC.

Keeping a vehicle safe requires a conscious effort for vehicle owners to take all items with them, every time they leave their vehicle. Additional safety tips include:

  • Do not leave your vehicle unattended while it is running
  • Do not leave your smart keys, valet or emergency keys in the vehicle while it’s unoccupied
  • Invest in an anti-theft device, especially with older model vehicles