Ontario's Top Cops Warn Motorists of Identity Theft Threat When Vehicles Left Unlocked or Valuables Left in Plain View

Police Chiefs Launch Province-wide Lock it OR Lose it Campaign

TORONTO, Dec. 12, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario's Police Chiefs today warned motorists about the dangers of identity theft resulting from unlocked vehicles or the leaving of valuables in plain view during the launch of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police's (OACP) annual Lock it OR Lose it Campaign. The campaign is a proactive crime prevention program that encourages drivers to take precautions to protect their vehicles and vehicle contents from theft, particularly during the holiday season.

"Police want motorists to be aware about the dangers involved in leaving vehicles unlocked or valuables in plain sight," said Deputy Chief Andrew Fletcher (Halton Regional Police Service), Chair of the OACP's Community Safety and Crime Prevention Committee. "We are especially concerned about the opportunity for identity theft resulting from the theft of unlocked vehicles or valuables."

During the Lock it OR Lose it Campaign, police officers examine parked vehicles to confirm they are locked and that no valuables have been left in plain view. Officers 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.

"The insurance industry remains a strong supporter of the Lock it OR Lose it Campaign. We know it works," said Rick Dubin, Vice-President, Investigative Services, Insurance Bureau of Canada. "While we are seeing declines in auto theft, motorists should remain vigilant. Fewer motor vehicle thefts mean criminals look for new ways to commit crimes. Identity theft offers opportunities for criminal activities."

Dubin urged motorists not to keep personal documents such as vehicle ownership, liability pink slips, credit card invoices, and passports in vehicles when unoccupied. Criminals look for such documents so they can assume identities, secure credit card accounts, and even take out a mortgage against victims' property without their knowledge. Victims may not realize they have been victimized until it is too late, costing them time and money to rectify the damage.

The number of stolen vehicles has dropped dramatically recently, with 4,500 fewer motor vehicle thefts in 2012 than there were in 2011, and a 57-percent drop from a decade ago. Despite this positive trend, Ontario's police leaders and our community partners are concerned that in 2012 there were 12,739 incidents of identity theft and identity fraud reported to police, a five-percent increase over those reported in 2011.

The Lock it OR Lose it Campaign is supported by a number of OACP partners: Insurance Bureau of Canada, Interac Association, Roy Speed Ross/Globali, Mac's Convenience Stores, Canpar, and TitlePLUS.

More details about preventing auto theft may be found on-line at: www.ibc.ca/en/Insurance_Crime/Auto_Theft/

The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police is the voice of Ontario's Police Leaders

Members of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police serve their communities as the senior police leaders in municipal, regional, provincial national, and First Nations police services across Ontario

Vision: Excellence in police leadership - working together for safer communities.

SOURCE: Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police

For further information:

Joe Couto
Director of Government Relations & Communications
T. (416) 926-0424 ext. 22
C. (416) 919-9798
E. media@oacp.ca

Twitter: @OACPOfficial

Facebook: http://facebook.com/OACPOfficial

Instagram: @OACPOfficial

YouTube: http://youtube.com/OACPOfficial

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