Nanaimo RCMP expects the rate of theft from vehicles to increase during the holiday season, which is already higher than last year’s pace.
To date, Nanaimo RCMP say there has been a 57 per cent increase in theft from vehicles from this time last year.
From August 25 to November 25, there were 542 thefts reported to police, compared to 308 during the same period in 2016.
“Thieves will steal anything in plain view. They will break windows, punch out door locks and do significant damage to take as little as one loonie,” Nanaimo RCMP Constable Gary O’Brien said.
“We also hear very sad stories of sentimental items being stolen from vehicles. Thieves don’t care and will simply dispose of priceless family heirlooms in the garbage if it cannot be redeemed for cash or drugs.”
O’Brien says thieves target busy parking lots and their preferred items are small and easy to conceal such as electronics, cell phones, makeup and wallets.
Police advise shoppers to make sure all doors and windows are locked when you leave your vehicle, try to park in areas with lots of foot traffic, place gifts in your trunk if you are dropping them and continue shopping and look to see if anyone is watching you before parking.