KAMLOOPS - In the first two weeks of May, there were 120 vehicles in Kamloops which had belongings takien from them, and most of those thefts could have been prevented.
From May 1 to May 14, 120 thefts from vehicles were reported to Kamloops RCMP. Of the thefts, 90 per cent happened overnight and 84 per cent occurred at residences.
Nearly 70 per cent of the vehicles were left unlocked, according to a Kamloops RCMP news release.
The number of thefts may seem high, but there's likely many more that weren't reported. Kamloops RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jodi Shelkie says it can be frustrating for police to see posts on social media about thefts from vehicles, but not receive police reports about those.
"They really do need to report it because on so many different levels it helps us solve the crime and help the neighbourhood as well," Shelkie says.
No matter how small or big the item is that was taken from your vehicle, reporting it to police can help them be aware of an issue around the neighbourhood.
Shelkie says people may not want to bother police with things like stolen sunglasses or a potentially suspicious person in the neighbourhood, but the more the RCMP knows the more they can help.
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Shelkie says someone may be embarrased to report the crime to police if they left their vehicle unlocked.
If police do receive several reports of thefts from vehicles in the same neighbourhood, more cruisers can be sent out to patrol and the RCMP can send volunteers to the neighbourhood to discuss crime prevention measures.
Some measures Kamloops RCMP has been reminding people of are rolling up your vehicle's windows, lock the doors, pocket the keys when you park your car, park in well-lit areas and never leave valuables in plain view.
"If your vehicle is broken into or has items stolen from it, please contact the RCMP," Shelkie says. "Crime Prevention Initiatives and extra patrols can only be assigned to neighbourhoods where police know there is a problem… and the problem is identified by victims reporting the crime."
For instance, Shelkie says, if officers are patrolling a neighbourhood and they street check someone they know to have a history of breaking into vehicles, they need to know if thefts from vehicles took place that evening.
If they don't receive reports of the crime, they won't know if there was a problem. If they do receive reports of a crime from that night, Shelkie says officers will at least have a starting point of who to talk to about the thefts.
She encourages residents to also report suspicious behaviour which can include someone peeking into vehicles, someone testing door handles or someone out of place suspiciously walking around.
The crime of thefts from vehicles in Kamloops has been an issue for every neighbourhood in Kamloops from Westsyde to Aberdeen, Shelkie says.
"It’s all over Kamloops," she says. "Maybe a few more on the south shore but that could just be because there’s more population."
Shelkie encourages all residents in Kamloops to look out for their neighbours and their vehicles.
— This story was updated at 8:44 a.m. Thursday, May 25, 2017 to correct the spelling of the word peeking. Thanks to reader Lauren DeCarlis for pointing out the spelling error.
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