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NWPD report areas of concern for vehicle related property crime

New Westminster – The month of January has seen an increase in vehicle related property crime in the downtown and Brow of the Hill areas of the city.

During the month of January there were 21 vehicles reported stolen in New Westminster, which in terms of the entire city, is a 42% drop from the same time last year.  Of concern is that 60% of these 21 occurrences took place within the Brow of the Hill area of New Westminster.

The downtown core also saw an increase in vehicle related property crime; however, in the downtown core the issue during the month of January has been theft from vehicles.  As was the case with theft of vehicles, during the month of January there were 66 reports made to the NWPD which represents an 18% drop for the entire city from the same time frame as last year.  Almost 40% of the theft from vehicle occurrences took place within the downtown core.

“While the results of our members’ hard work is evident in the substantial drop in these types of crimes in the city as a whole, the concentration of vehicle related crime in these two areas is unacceptable,” said Chief Constable Dave Jones. “We will continue to target those individuals responsible.”

Included in the measures taken by the NWPD:

  1. Increased surveillance of auto theft suspects in New Westminster.
  2. A continued focus on forensic processing of recovered stolen vehicles (fingerprints, DNA etc.)
  3. A continued focus on compliance checks for prolific offenders on court ordered conditions.
  4. Liaising with Provincial auto theft unit (IMPACT) for increased enforcement in the New Westminster area.

Sergeant Chad Johnston also notes, “The public has the ability to play a major role in reducing auto related crime by being proactive and taking preventative measures”.

Tips for protecting vehicles from theft (courtesy of ICBC):

  1. Use of an anti-theft device or electronic immobilizer is the best protection and has the ability to shutdown the starter, ignition and/or fuel system.
  2. Steering wheel locks provide a good visual deterrent, however they offer a lower level of protection than immobilizers.
  3. Park your vehicle in well lit areas, near pedestrian traffic if at all possible.
  4. Remove possessions from your vehicle – shopping bags, spare change, electronics, brief cases etc.
  5. Don’t keep spare keys or valet keys in your vehicle.
  6. Keep your garage door opener out of sight.  If you are parking on the street outside your home, take the garage door opener with you.
  7. Wait for the garage door gate to close behind you so thieves don’t a have a chance to get in the parkade.

NWPD Crime Analysts noted 1990-2000 model year Honda Accords and Honda Civics appear to be the focus of auto theft in New Westminster but are asking all vehicle owners to remain vigilant in securing their vehicles on a daily basis.