Steps can be taken to curb the number of vehicle thefts during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Black Press photo)

Tips for avoiding theft from vehicles from North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP

Property crime on the rise during COVID-19 pandemic

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have noticed an increase in property crime, including thefts from vehicles, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police have been taking steps to mitigate and respond to these calls, and are asking for assistance from the public in reducing opportunity for thieves to strike by doing the following:

* Lock vehicle doors all the time, even if parked in a home driveway. Never leave your vehicle unattended if it is running or the keys are in it.

* In public places like street parking or parking lots, make sure to leave your vehicle in a well-lit, open area.

* Consider installing motion sensor lights that will illuminate the area where your vehicle is parked overnight. Bright lights and the opportunity for witnesses to observe or interrupt are deterrents to this sort of crime.

* Remove valuable items, like wallets and purses, sunglasses, and phones, from your car before leaving the vehicle unattended. Cover or hide spare change, charge cords or garage door openers. Don’t leave wrapped gifts or shopping bags in view. Thieves are looking for an easy target, and will often pass over vehicles if they cannot see anything of value.

* Put away other items from your yard or patio that are visible from the street to prevent thieves from coming onto property.

* Most importantly, do not put yourself in an unsafe situation if you come across someone committing a crime. If you observe someone committing a property crime at your home, call police. If it safe to do so, consider taking actions like turning on an outside light or activating the remote panic button on keys. Personal health and safety should be a priority over belongings.

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