Police remind residents to lock it or lose it

Police leave note leave behind to remind drivers to keep vehicles secure

Small tags from local police officers remind residents to lock their cars on the streets of Oak Bay.

In the “lock it or lose it” campaign, officers spend some time compiling statistics and leaving notes for those who leave vehicles unlocked.

“Every now and then we go out and see what kinds of stats we have,” said Const. Eric Payne, of Oak Bay police. “We try and do it at least once a month to get an idea if people are getting it or not.”

The most recent walk, July 12, they spent 80 minutes canvassing the lower Henderson and Carnarvon roads neighbourhood.

“We found 21 vehicles unlocked,” Payne said. “These stats are pretty standard across the board. People are clearly not getting the message.”

In open vehicles, officers leave a note on the seat, to let the owner or driver know it was noticed unlocked.

“This is a crime of opportunity,” Payne said. “It attracts the criminal element to neighbourhoods bringing with it the potential for more serious occurrences.”

May 7 in the same area over an hour officers found 14 vehicles. On May 15 they scouted the neighbourhood around the Chinese Cemetery at Harling Point and found four vehicles in 50 minutes. On May 18, an hour and 40 minutes near McNeill Bay netted 25 vehicles unlocked.

“Virtually all of these vehicles had valuables,”  Payne said. “If you leave a toonie on the console somebody will enter a vehicle for that.”

“For more valuable belongings they won’t hesitate to smash a window or break a door lock as evidenced by the most recent occurrence in north east Oak Bay,” Payne said. On July 20 sometime overnight a thief or thieves forced a lock to get into a secure parked vehicle. Tools and a gift card were taken.

Police also remind residents to lock garage doors after someone entered an unlocked garage in south east Oak Bay July 18 and rummaged an unlocked car and stole a camera bag.