Editorial: Word to the wise: Lock it or lose it

The message is simple: Remove anything of value inside your car and lock it before you leave it

If you leave your vehicle unlocked on local streets and parking areas, don’t be surprised if you return to find a friendly reminder from the Oak Bay police.

Of course, you could have just as easily returned to find your belongings – or the car itself – gone.

Police are undertaking a “Lock it or lose it” campaign, compiling statistics about vehicles left locked/unlocked and leaving a reminder note on the driver’s seat for those who opt for the latter.

During a July 12 walk canvassing the lower Henderson and Carnarvon roads neighbourhood police found 21 vehicles unlocked in 80 minutes. About the same amount of time near McNeill Bay on May 18 netted 25 vehicles unlocked. Virtually all have something of value that could tempt a thief.

“These stats are pretty standard across the board. People are clearly not getting the message,” said Oak Bay Const. Eric Payne, noting that theft from vehicles is a crime of opportunity. When residents choose to leave their vehicles unlocked, they boost those opportunities for crooks, something that then impacts the community as a whole.

“It attracts the criminal element to neighbourhoods, bringing with it the potential for more serious occurrences,” Payne warned.

And the value of what’s inside the car is of little interest – thieves will enter an unlocked car for spare change; if they catch sight of something a little more valuable, they won’t hesitate to smash a window or break a door lock.

The message is simple: Remove anything of value inside your car and lock it before you leave it.