An increase in vehicle break-ins this month has the Nanaimo RCMP warning people to lock their cars and keep their wallets with them.
Nanaimo RCMP said from May 1 to May 22, 138 thefts from vehicles were reported, a 32 per cent increase from the same time period in 2017 when there were 95 thefts reported.
Overall, there has been a 29 per cent increase in thefts from vehicles from Jan. 1 to May 22 compared to the same time period in 2017. There were 711 vehicle break-ins reported from Jan 1 to May 22 this year compared to 504 thefts last year.
“Once again, almost half of the reported thefts occurred from unlocked vehicles. ‘Door checkers’ as they are called simply meander through neighbourhoods, often late at night trying door handles. When they find an unlocked door, in they go and they take whatever they can find,” Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien said in a release.
According to O’Brien, thieves are often leaving iPhones alone when they see a wallet, as a wallet often has credit cards, a driver’s licence, SIN cards and personal health information. Thieves can use this information for identity theft. They may be able to set up lines of credit in someone else’s name and drain bank accounts using a tap function on a debit card.
“One person recently said the only item taken from their unlocked vehicle was a pack of raisins. They appeared to get off easy but their daughter had nightmares afterwards wondering if the bad man would come back again,” O’Brien said.
Police said it’s important to never leave anything in plain view in a vehicle and to ensure unattended vehicles are locked at all times. Suspicious activity around vehicles can be reported to Nanaimo RCMP’s non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.
There are also high-visibility signs, which say “All Valuables Removed,” at the Nanaimo RCMP detachment’s front counter. The signs can be put on driver and passenger side windows to tell potential thieves that there is nothing worth searching for.