Lock It or Lose It

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 3:58 p.m. November 27, 2018

Not everyone is filled with good intentions this holiday season.

A woman in TPS uniform putting a flyer under a windshield wiper
Sgt. Sheila Richardson adds reminders to lock up cars and secure valuables for Yorkdale shoppers

While most people are trying to bring joy to others by finding that special gift this Christmas, a few others are looking for every opportunity to steal your valuables.

At this year’s Ontario Association of Chiefs (OACP) of Police Lock it or Lose it campaign launch at Yorkdale Mall on November 27, Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood, who is also the OACP president, joined police officers from across the province in reminding motorists to take the time to ensure their vehicles and valuables are safe from theft.

“Our message is simple,” she said. “Lock your vehicle and secure your valuables.”

Joe Couto, the OACP director of government relations & communications, listed the many things that criminals are looking for this Christmas:

  • Vehicles left running
  • Unlocked doors & trunks
  • Bags, electronics, sunglasses, loose change left in plain sight

Vanessa Barrasa, the Insurance Bureau of Canada media relations manager, said the holiday season is a prime business time for thieves.

“As you go and park your car, just do one simple thing,” she said. “Lock it.”

She said the rate of motor vehicle theft in Canada increased by six per cent between 2016 and 2017.

“The rate of motor vehicle theft in Canada was actually 48 per cent lower a decade ago. We find that cars are stolen for a number of reasons. Stolen vehicles may be shipped overseas or they are either sold to consumers who unknowingly are buying a stolen vehicle, for their parts or they are used to commit other crimes. Sometimes thieves steal what is in your car and that can lead to insurance fraud or worse, identify theft,” she said.

A group of images
Auto theft crime prevention tips

We are asking drivers to just take some time to put away their valuables and lock their vehicles

A group of images of cars
Auto theft crime prevention tips

Barrasa said identity theft is also on the rise with over 17,500 recorded in 2017.

As part of this year’s Lock it or Lose it launch police displayed two vehicles in the busy mall parking lot. One was locked and secured with no valuables in plain sight while the other was unlocked with shopping bags on the back seat.

“This one is perfect for thieves and would make their Christmas,” said Toronto Crime Prevention Const. Dan Ramos. “We are asking drivers to just take some time to put away their valuables and lock their vehicles.”

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