Encouraging discouragement

It seems unfortunate that the RCMP have to take time from doing all the other things they have to do to engage in a public relations exercise to protect us from our own carelessness. But that’s what it comes down to.

The issue is theft of and from vehicles. As the authorities have been telling us for decades – thieves on the prowl will hit cars that are open/running/have valuables on display. Your chances of getting your vehicle stolen or stolen from are much less if you don’t do these things.

So… to the good news. Recently Slave Lake RCMP did a little blitz, checking on 587 parked vehicles over a week. Only 20 of them were unlocked.
However, 50 of them had valuables “in plain view.”

Officers also found 15 vehicles parked and running, although not unlocked.
The program was part of the RCMP’s ‘Lock It Or Lose It’ campaign, an effort to reduce the incidence of such crimes.

The results were encouraging, says the news release, but there is room for improvement.

Oh boy is there ever. Alberta leads the nation in vehicle thefts. The most popular target is the Ford F150.

Statistics for theft from vehicles is harder to come by. But there is certainly a lot of it. Would it stop if everybody locked their vehicles and kept valuables out of sight? No it wouldn’t. A lot of this stuff is fueled by people desperate for drug money. Staff Sgt. John Spaans of the Slave Lake RCMP has said as much to The Leader. It is the case that many thieves will bypass a locked vehicle in favour of the easier score from the unlocked one they expect to come across soon. So locking and hiding valuables works as long as easier pickings are assured. If they aren’t, it won’t.

Meanwhile, nobody is getting to the heart of the problem, which is as deep and complicated as human nature itself.

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