Theft from vehicles up due to being left unlocked

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and energeticcity.ca in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

From August 1 to September 26, 2012 there were 42 reports of theft from vehicles in Fort St. John. In 2011, there were only 20 in the same time span. Shelkie explains that an estimated 95 per cent of the thefts this year were from vehicles that were left unlocked. Only five per cent of the broken in vehicles had their windows broken to gain access.

"Forty of them could have been prevented if the doors were locked because almost all suspects say they don't want to draw the attention by breaking the window," she explains. "They go until they find a vehicle unlocked and then they search it."

That statement is backed up by what Shelkie heard recently from a suspect who stole a vehicle.

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"He admitted to breaking in to some vehicles, and said, 'well yeah, if the door's unlocked they deserve to have their stuff stolen'."

Fort St. John's Crime Reduction Unit has identified this as a problem in the community, and has been working to determine the culprits.

"So far, we've determined that it's youths," says Shelkie. "Right now we're targeting who they could be, and once they're identified, we're working on prosecuting them."

The local RCMP detachment urges owners to lock their vehicles, and to hide any items stored inside. It's also recommended not to store your garage door opener in your car, or leave anything valuable in the vehicle, as people will break in just for spare change. Shelkie also adds to never store a spare key inside.

"The people that have been charged in the past, they say they're just there to steal out of the vehicle, but if they find a key for it, they're going to take it for a joyride or steal it and try and sell it."

If you have any information about a crime of this nature, call the Fort St. John RCMP Detachment at 250-787-8100.

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