Motorists Encouraged to Protect Their Vehicles and Vehicle Contents as the Holiday Season Kicks into Gear
TORONTO, Dec. 1 /CNW/ - The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP), Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), and Mac's Convenience stores today launched the second annual Lock It or Lose It program, a proactive crime prevention program that encourages drivers to take a few simple precautions to protect their vehicles and vehicle contents from theft - just in time for the holidays.
Under the Lock It or Lose It program, police officers throughout Ontario examine parked vehicles to confirm they are locked and that no valuables have been left in plain view.
"The program involves our officers placing a small notice on every vehicle checked indicating what safety precautions were neglected and offering some simple prevention tips for drivers to protect their vehicles against theft," said OACP President Chief Robert Herman (Thunder Bay Police Service). "The notice also congratulates drivers who have ensured that their vehicle is secure, with valuables out of sight."
According to Richard Dubin, IBC Vice-President, Investigative Services, auto theft costs Canadians more than $1 billion every year.
"In 2009, 108,172 vehicles were stolen in Canada and, of those, 27,175 were stolen in Ontario. This is a 13% reduction in Ontario compared to the previous year. The message is getting out there to "lock it or lose it" said Dubin.
Dubin noted that about half of all stolen vehicles are used to commit another crime or are driven - often recklessly - for simple purposes of transportation (this is called "destination theft"). In such cases, the thieves are usually amateurs who take advantage of owner negligence by grabbing the first vehicle they can find that's been left unsecured. In the other cases, vehicles are stolen by professional thieves involved in organized crime rings.
In November, the Federal Government passed Bill S-9, "Tackling Auto Theft and Property Obtained by Crime Act", which amended the Criminal Code of Canada to make auto theft a separate crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and a mandatory minimum sentence of six months in jail upon a third conviction. It is also now an offence to tamper with a vehicle identification number and to traffic in stolen property, which gives Canada Border Services Agency authority to seize stolen vehicles for export.
An unlocked door, an open window or a vehicle left running unattended is an invitation to thieves. The Lock It or Lose It program reminds drivers to always:
- Roll up their vehicles' windows
- Keep valuables out of sight
- Lock their doors
- Pocket their keys
- Never leave a vehicle unattended while it is running
Vehicles left warming up in driveways on cold mornings or outside of coffee shops, convenience stores, and ATM locations are also vulnerable to being stolen. Criminal organizations target high-end vehicles for export.
Mac's Convenience stores across Ontario are supporting the Lock It or Lose It program by promoting the program through their 700 stores using their windows and in-store LCD monitors.
"Making crime prevention initiatives part of your social responsibility will undoubtedly improve the safety impact within our communities," explained Sean Sportun, Manager, Loss Prevention and Security for Mac's in Central Canada. "Supporting the Lock It or Lose It program demonstrates our continued commitment to the overall safety of the community."
Thanks to the partnership and generous support of Insurance Bureau of Canada, this program (including vehicle notices) is being made available to all police services throughout the Province of Ontario.
More details about preventing auto theft may be found on-line at: www.ibc.ca/en/Insurance_Crime/Auto_Theft/
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
Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 110,000 Canadians, pays more than $6 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial, and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $40 billion
The OACP and IBC thank the Oxford Properties Group for their support of the Lock It or Lose It program and 2010 launch event held on December 1, 2010 at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, ON
For further information: For further information:
Ontario Association of
Chiefs of Police
416-926-0424 ext. 22
Insurance Bureau of Canada
416-362-2031, ext. 4387