"Vehicle Thefts Up" SGI Warns.

Nick Murray

Vehicle thefts have been happening more frequently than law enforcement in Moose Jaw would like. Just this week, a video went (moderately) viral, in Moose Jaw, in which a young lady appeared to get busted by a concerned citizen attempting to steal a motorcycle. Had the lady known how to drive it she likely would have been successful. But upon being confronted, she opted to awkwardly lay the bike on its side and walk away.

SGI has released a simple and frank ad campaign of related note in which they are reminding people to "keep it locked. Keep your keys with you. And keep our streets safe.”

The goal? To reduce thefts and damages.

"Over the last five years, there has been a 46 per cent increase in the number of reported auto theft claims in Saskatchewan" said Tyler McMurchy, Media Relations Manager at SGI.

 “Police tell us close to half of auto thefts happen because someone left their keys or their keyless fob in or near their vehicle,” said Penny McCune, Chief Operating Officer of the Auto Fund added. “Please don’t make a thief’s job easy; don’t leave your keys in the ignition, in the console, in the glovebox, under a floor mat or even in the garage. Thieves know all the hiding places you might choose and can usually find your ‘hidden’ keys in under a minute.”

 “Vehicles are often stolen for use in other crimes, or to obtain quick cash to fuel a drug habit. Increasingly, police are finding weapons in the vehicles we recover,” said Chief Marlo Pritchard, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Chiefs of Police. “Thieves often drive while impaired, at high speeds or otherwise recklessly. This endangers everyone else who shares the road.”

McMurchy questioned the decision to leave cars running: "You wouldn’t leave thousands of dollars in cash unattended on your driveway, so why would you leave one of your most valuable possessions – your vehicle – running or with the keys inside?" 

Most auto thieves aren’t sophisticated, and they sure aren’t picky," he added. "Auto thefts are crimes of opportunity. It doesn’t matter whether your vehicle is brand-new and in factory condition, or an older model well into six digits on the odometer. If you’ve left it easier to steal, you may not find it when you come back for it. A thief truly doesn’t care about your ride. Stolen vehicles are often left in disgusting condition, littered with syringes, chicken bones and cigarette butts, among other things."

About 90 per cent of all stolen vehicles are recovered, but more than half are a total loss, regardless of whether they’re recovered. 

"Protect your investment and help keep everyone on the roads safe. Never leave keys or a keyless fob in or near an unattended vehicle, even with it locked" said McMurchy.

Here are some other tips to help prevent your vehicle from being stolen:

  • Shut windows tightly and lock all doors.
  • Remove all valuables from your vehicle, including spare change.
  • Park in a garage if possible. If not, park in well lit areas at night time.
  • Consider installing an alarm in your vehicle or using a theft prevention device like “The Club.”

SGI’s new multi-media campaign will include on television, radio, print, billboard, social media and online advertising.

The television and radio spots are online at www.sgi.sk.ca/keysinvehicle.