Police ask residents to be on alert for car thefts during winter

By Gurneet Samra
November 13, 2017 - 5:59pm Updated: November 13, 2017 - 7:22pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB - Hide your keys - car thefts are on the rise.

Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS) urge residents to remain vigilant during the winter months, when the risk of vehicle theft increases. Many people tend to leave their cars idling to warm them up on cold days, and a running car is an easier snag for car thieves.

"“People don’t want to make a bunch of noise, they don’t want to be prying on something, they don’t want to be smashing windows. They’re going to go for the easy ones,” said MHPS St/Sgt. Mark Fentiman. Fentiman added that cars are often stolen for their parts, and in some cases, thieves use them to commit further crimes.

According to MHPS, vehicle thefts have dramatically spiked within an eight month span this year compared to last year. Seven vehicle theft incidents occurred this month alone, bringing the total number of reported car thefts to around 130 this year so far.

Police have been warning residents about the spike in vehicle thefts since the summer, and they encourage residents to implement some preventative measures.

“Anything of value, don’t keep it in [the vehicle]. If you have access to a garage, park your vehicle in a garage. Don’t leave it outside," said Fentiman.

For residents who keep their cars running while unattended, they are advised to invest in steering wheel locks and remote car starters to lock out car thieves.

Statistics Canada reports in 2016, nearly 23,000 vehicles were stolen province wide. Those numbers place Alberta at the top when it comes to vehicle thefts.

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