Busted by Block Watch

Police enlist volunteer groups to help combat spike in car thefts

Local Block Watch groups are being given a list of stolen vehicles so they can report them when seen.

It’s part of a new Surrey RCMP program, and so far, two cars have been recovered in Cloverdale during a three-week pilot project.

Groups are being asked to simply observe and report the cars, and call 911 if the car is occupied, or the Surrey RCMP non-emergency line if it’s not.

The Surrey RCMP has made an iPhone app available to Block Watch groups to serve the same purpose as the list.

“We depend on the residents and businesses of Surrey to observe and report any suspicious activity in order to reduce crime and increase community safety,” said Surrey RCMP Community Services Officer Insp. Ghalib Bhayani. “Our Block Watches are well-positioned to assist us in the identification of stolen vehicles as they are already on the lookout for suspicious activities in their neighbourhoods.”

RCMP statistics for 2014 were released this week and they show vehicle theft was up 54 per cent over the previous year.

That spike was as high as 71 per cent in Guildford-Fleetwood.

Police say Block Watch programs can provide formidable assistance in catching car thieves.

If you would like to join an existing Block Watch, or if you’re interested in starting a Block Watch for your area, contact your local Crime Prevention Coordinator at your nearest Surrey RCMP District Office.