FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St John RCMP again urges drivers to keep their vehicles locked while leaving them unattended.

From January 1st to March 16th, the detachment has received 48 reports of theft from motor vehicles under $5000 and one report over $5000.

A local officer conducted an unsecured vehicle project in 2020, finding over 15 per cent of vehicles were left unlocked.

The study took place over two nights in five different neighbourhoods, and the officer checked 200 vehicles.

“Thieves are always on the lookout for an easy target; walking down streets in the dark, checking car doors, patiently waiting for the vehicles that are left unlocked,” said an RCMP release.

According to the BC Motor Vehicle Act, a driver cannot leave their vehicle unattended or parked unless it has been secured.

Vehicle owners can face an $81 fine for an unsecured motor vehicle.

“While the RCMP doesn’t want to be seen as punishing victims of theft from vehicle, instances like these are easily avoidable and can help greatly reduce the frustration and loss experienced by owners and lower police file counts for preventable crimes,” said an RCMP release.