Nanaimo RCMP say they have seen an “alarming” increase in thefts from vehicles so far this year, while Sidney/North Saanich RCMP advise that they are dealing with a third surge of such thefts in 2018 — as well as a run on vehicles being stolen.
From January to September there were 1,555 reported thefts from vehicles in Nanaimo, as compared with 1,661 in all of 2017. This past September had 242 thefts, while September 2017 had 113. Police expect the 2017 total to be passed in two weeks.
Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien said keeping vehicles locked and making sure valuables are out of sight are the best means of prevention. “Don’t make it so easy for criminals,” he said.
Staff Sgt. Wayne Conley, the Sidney/ North Saanich detachment commander, had a similar message. He added that there is a “ripple effect” from what is happening, with stolen vehicles being used to commit other crimes. Along with that, he said personal information that thieves find in vehicles is being used for fraudulent purchases around Vancouver Island.
Statistics gathered since September in the Sidney/North Saanich area indicate there have been 35 thefts from vehicles and five stolen vehicles. Thirty of those vehicles were confirmed to be unlocked, and three had the keys or fobs left inside the vehicle or an adjacent unlocked vehicle.
O’Brien said it is also important to report suspicious activity, like people checking door handles. “The Nanaimo RCMP is actively targeting individuals who break into vehicles,” he said. “Some arrests have been made but more work is required to deal with this issue.”