Amherst Police urging auto theft awareness

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Lock your vehicle, pocket the keys and hide your belongings

Police in Amherst are urging motorists to be more aware of the risks of auto theft.

Const. Aaron Graham of the Amherst Police Department looks over a pamphlet on auto theft that will be handed out to motorists at checkstops around town. Auto theft costs Canadians $500 million annually.

AMHERST – Lock it, pocket and hide.

The Amherst Police Department is launching a public awareness campaign its members hope will help people avoid being a victim of a vehicle-related crime.

While Const. Aaron Graham said vehicle theft is not a big issue in Amherst, it does happen, while other issues, like thefts from vehicles, occur on a more regular basis.

“The biggest thing is getting the message out there that there are things you can do to avoid being a victim,” Graham said. “People think that because they live in a small community that theft can’t happen here. Reality is otherwise and there are steps people can take to avoid it.”

Thefts from vehicles is something that seems to be more prominent during the Christmas season, but Graham said it’s a year-round problem and he said someone can steal your vehicle in the dead of winter as well as in the middle of summer.

To help people avoid being victims, Amherst Police will be distributing information pamphlets at its checkstops.

Some tips to avoiding theft include never leaving keys in the ignition or in your car, not even in a hiding place.

Graham suggests people use a garage if they have one, lock their vehicle doors and activate their security alarm, close all windows and the sunroof and take all valuables with you when you leave your vehicle, or lock them in the trunk when there’s no choice but to leave them in the vehicle.

Another tip, he said, is leaving your vehicle keys in a secure location in the home, not on a key ring by the front door. He also said it’s important to always report suspicious activity.

Some of the reason thieves steal vehicles include needing transportation, to commit crimes or to sell for vehicle parts.

Formed in September and funded by the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Investigative Services Division, as well as local sponsors from the insurance, salvage and automobile industries, Nova Scotia Provincial Auto Theft Network (PATNET) consists of 35 members with representatives from municipal police forces, RCMP, Natural Resources, the Canadian Border Services Agency and Service Nova Scotia.

Training focuses on vital information every frontline officer should know about auto identification, theft investigations and red flags.

Graham said auto theft and fraud is big business in Canada and comes at an annual cost of approximately $500 million.

If your vehicle is broken into or stolen, Graham said victims should immediately call police at 667-8600.

darrell.cole@tc.tc

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Amherst Police Department, Insurance Bureau of Canada, Investigative Services Division Nova Scotia Provincial Auto Theft Network RCMP Canadian Border Services Agency and Service Nova Scotia

Geographic location: AMHERST, Canada

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