COLUMN: RCMP: On Scene
The recently released crime statistics for Surrey are encouraging (crime stats are posted quarterly at www.surreyrcmp.ca). In Cloverdale/Port Kells we saw a 16 per cent decrease in violent crime and a 1 per cent increase in property crime in 2016.
As a police officer and community member, it is great to see violent crime trending down. We will continue our efforts to keep violent crime down in 2017 and hopefully lower property crimes in our district and across the city.
One of the biggest areas we need to focus on is auto crime. However, a couple of weeks ago, my game of rock, paper, Mother Nature didn’t go as planned… On Saturday, Feb. 4, extraordinary winter weather conditions resulted in the cancellation of an auto crime awareness and education project in the Clayton area. Our Community Response Unit (CRU) has rescheduled this project for April when snow shouldn’t be an issue!
Until then, I do want to touch on auto crime as it is a persistent and very preventable crime type that continues to be on the increase in the Lower Mainland.
Most people easily recognize the clear impact of their vehicle being stolen, especially if it is not recovered. However, having your vehicle broken into and items stolen seems to be viewed as more of a nuisance for many victims.
I can tell you that theft from auto is more than a nuisance – it is a crime and can easily lead to fraud and identity theft. I have been involved in several investigations over the past few months in which personal information in the forms of identification cards, passports and mail has been recovered from criminals.
The personal information they steal is used to further their criminal pursuits by creating false identities that they use to purchase or rent vehicles or properties to use in other crimes. These techniques insulate the criminal’s true identity and make these investigations involving assumed identities very challenging for police.
To better protect your identity and your vehicle and its belongings, please consider the following information. Thieves look for opportunities such as older vehicles, unlocked doors, a lack of anti-theft devices (steering wheel lock or alarm system/immobilizer), and items that are visible and of value to the thief such as smart phones, laptops, tools, keys, identification and garage-door openers.
Don’t give thieves a chance – secure your vehicle with an anti-theft device, deter temptation by removing your valuables and treat your garage-door opener like a key to your home. These are just a few of the many counter measures that you can take to prevent yourself from being victimized.
Check out the “Protect Yourself” section on the Surrey RCMP website for more prevention tips.
Remember to do your part: “Observe It, Report It” and “Protect It, Lock It, Keep It.”
You can reach me via the Cloverdale Community Policing Office email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sgt. W.W. (Winston) Shorey
Community Response Sergeant
District 4 - Surrey RCMP