Po­lice push win­ter aware­ness

Winnipeg Sun - - NEWS - DAVID LARKINS

Win­nipeg po­lice are putting out their an­nual aware­ness cam­paign to mo­torists to keep their ve­hi­cles safe from theft and bur­glary.

Cars stolen with keys left in the ve­hi­cle and thefts from ve­hi­cles in­crease dur­ing the win­ter months, Win­nipeg po­lice spokesper­son Const. Tammy Skrabek said.

Last year, Win­nipeg po­lice had 614 cases of thefts from ve­hi­cles, up from 482 the year be­fore, Skrabek said. Skrabek said po­lice had 282 sim­i­lar re­ports in De­cem­ber 2015, which jumped to 431 last De­cem­ber.

Skrabek said those in­ci­dents tend to oc­cur be­cause driv­ers leave keys in their car to keep it warm, or thieves take ad­van­tage of the hol­i­day sea­son when pur­chased items some­times are left in a ve­hi­cle while shop­ping.

“So that’s a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease and that’s why we feel the need to is­sue this ad­vi­sory prior to the cold Christ­mas sea­son where peo­ple are leav­ing items in their car,” she said.

Skrabek said po­lice have al­ready started to see re­ports of cars stolen while they’re run­ning.

“It’s within sec­onds,” she said of the thefts. “We had one last week where the per­son had lit­er­ally gone out to the ve­hi­cle, started it up, turned around and went back into the house to do some­thing by the time they got back to the car the ve­hi­cle was stolen.”

Po­lice ad­vise not leav­ing the ve­hi­cle unat­tended with the keys in the ig­ni­tion whether it’s run­ning or not. Spare keys and garage door open­ers should also not be left in the car, and chil­dren and pets should never be left unat­tended.

“While it’s a great idea that we all want to get into a nice warm, comfy ve­hi­cle,” Skrabek said, “any ran­dom thief out there sees that as an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity to get them­selves into a nice, safe, warm, comfy ve­hi­cle very, very quickly.”

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