(Stock image/Metro Creative Connection)

(Stock image/Metro Creative Connection)

Alberta RCMP and partners launch Operation Cold Start

With the cold winter temperatures, the Alberta RCMP and their law enforcement partners are reminding everyone to ensure their vehicle is never unattended or unlocked with keys nearby or in the ignition.

The Town of Ponoka’s Community Peace Officer (CPO) assisted the Ponoka RCMP last week as they launched Operation Cold Start, according to a post on the town’s Facebook page.

RCMP and the CPO travelled throughout the community and identified unlocked vehicles that were idling with the door either unlocked or the keys still inside the vehicle.

When a vehicle was found idling, the RCMP and CPO tred to locate the owner to offer tips on how to keep their vehicle secure, and provided information pamphlets about preventing vehicle theft.

The Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police (AACP) sponsored province-wide Operation Cold Start is taking place Jan. 30 to Feb. 3. This is the second year this initiative has been held.

Approximately 50 per cent of stolen vehicles in Alberta are stolen while idling and these thefts are far more prevalent in the cold winter months, according to the RCMP.

Vehicles can be stolen in seconds by thieves lying in wait. Often times, thieves will look for people who start their vehicles and then leave them unattended as they return in their houses or into a store.

The goal of Operation Cold Start is to educate Albertans and work with the public to reduce auto theft, ultimately by making it tougher on would-be thieves.

“Officers will work to educate owners on the various ways they may keep their property safe but we can’t do it alone and it is critical that the public help in preventing these crimes of opportunity,” stated a press release.

“Alberta has the highest per capita auto theft rate in the country, and approximately 25 per cent of those vehicles are stolen while idling with the keys left in the vehicle,” said RCMP superintendent Mike McCauley of the Community Safety and Wellbeing Branch.

“This drives up insurance rates for Albertans and these files take a great deal of time to investigate.”

To keep your vehicle safe:

– use command start or stay with your vehicle as it’s warming up;

– use a steering wheel locking device;

– never leave valuable items like purses, wallets, keys or change in an unoccupied vehicle;

– always place keys to vehicles in a safe place, out of plain sight and in a secure location;

– lock vehicle doors all the time, even if you are parked in your driveway or garage at home, and

– never leave your vehicle unattended if it is running or the keys are in it.


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