FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Residents are noticing higher rates of thefts in recent years and are looking to the RCMP for answers.
One way the local RCMP is attempting to deal with theft and property crime is through the creation of a crime reduction unit in conjunction with other departments in the region.
“The theft of vehicles is an entire Peace Region problem, including both BC and Alberta, but it is not a new problem,” said Constable Chad Neustaeter with the local RCMP.
“Three times during 2022, the Fort St John RCMP has tried to remind the public to lock their vehicles as it has been an ongoing issue.”
In 2022, there were 176 instances of vehicle theft, 35 cases of arson, 178 cases of break and enter, 317 cases of theft, and 335 of mischief to property, according to the Fort St. John RCMP.
In 2023, from January 1st to February 14th, there were already 25 reported and six attempted vehicle thefts.
The RCMP reminded the public to lock their vehicles through media releases in February, March and November of 2022.
“… Gone are the days when you could leave your vehicles and homes unlocked,” Neustaeter said.
Officers said thieves look for easy targets, as most vehicles stolen were left unlocked and often running.
With resources from the Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and North District RCMP General Investigation Section, the Peace Region Crime Reduction Unit was formed and is working with detachments in the Alberta Peace Region to target prolific offenders.
According to the RCMP, the unit has already put two offenders back in jail.
A small number of offenders are creating the majority of the files, said police, and sharing wanted posters with the public is another way the local RCMP is reportedly trying to put offenders behind bars.
Below is a list of ways to stop property crime, according to the RCMP:
- Owners can lock their vehicles and remove the keys and other essential or valuable items.
- Use a remote starter, so the vehicle stays locked and the keys stay out of the vehicle.
- Use a steering wheel lock or some other type of anti-theft device.
- Park vehicles in well-lit areas.
- Businesses can invest in video surveillance and appropriate lighting.
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