Car owners are reminded to lock their vehicles at night and keep valuables out of sight, as Saanich police are reporting a “very, very dramatic spike” in the number of thefts from vehicles.
In the first four days of June alone, police received 14 reports of broken-in vehicles and stolen items. In May, 37 vehicles were entered and property was taken.
Sgt. Steve Eassie said these numbers represent at least twice the number of thefts from vehicles, compared with recent months.
“There have been some (break-ins where) locks have been punched. There’s also been a few where windows have been smashed. In a majority of those cases, it’s where they’re actually able to see property in the vehicle, which is prompting them to take action to enter the car,” he said.
At least 16 of the vehicles targeted were either unlocked or a window was left rolled down.
Common items stolen include sunglasses and small, portable electronics such as iPods and GPS devices.
Eassie said no one area in Saanich is being targeted – thefts are happening in different parts of the municipality each night, making investigators believe the person or persons involved have a vehicle.
The best way to prevent your car from being broken in to is to park in a secure, well-lit location, Eassie said. If you have to park outside of a garage, you’re advised not leave anything of value in your vehicle.
“Thieves will aways be looking for an opportunity. If you leave your vehicle unlocked they will take that as an opportunity to enter your car. Once they’ve entered your vehicle they have access to things you may not feel are of value, such a insurance papers, garage door openers, things of that nature,” Eassie said.
“Thieves are not going to be looking for things that are difficult for them to do. They’re not looking to draw attention to themselves. So if they have to break a window or if they have to punch a lock, there’s a much greater likelihood they will be caught, because there’s noise associated with it.”
Police are asking anyone with information on these vehicle break-ins to call 250-475-4321 or 1-800-222-8477.