The Perth County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding motorists and passengers to “Lock it or Lose it” when it comes to their vehicles and valuables as part of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police’s (OACP) annual “Lock It or Lose it” campaign.
Ontario police services are launching this year’s campaign during the holiday season because it’s easy to be distracted and leave vehicles unlocked or valuables in plain sight during the holiday hustle-and-bustle. During the “Lock It or Lose it” campaign, police officers, auxiliary officers, and crime prevention personnel examine parked vehicles to confirm they are locked and that no valuables have been left in plain view. They place a small notice on vehicles checked indicating what safety precautions were neglected and offer simple prevention tips for drivers to protect their vehicles against theft. The notices also congratulate drivers who have secured their vehicle.
This year, police are particularly concerned that auto theft rates are up for the second consecutive year. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, there were nearly 79,000 incidents of motor vehicle theft reported by police in 2015, resulting in a rate of 220 per 100,000 population. Between 2014 and 2015, the rate of motor vehicle theft in Canada increased 6 percent. This was the second consecutive increase in the rate following ten years of declines.
Motorists and passengers are also urged not to keep personal documents such as vehicle ownership, liability pink slips, credit card invoices, or other documents containing personal information in their vehicles. Identity thieves are looking for such documents so they can assume identities, secure credit card accounts, lease vehicles for export, and even take out a mortgage against victims’ properties without their knowledge.