Vehicle thefts have been trending upwards in Regina and now police are taking an in-depth look into the problem.
In March, police will present a report that looks at who is stealing vehicles, what their motives behind it are and whether officers are taking the right approach with the public in helping them to prevent this type of crime from occurring.
“We need to better understand the problem,” said Chief Troy Hagen.
“We’ve made tremendous strides with respect to auto thefts. But we certainly don’t want to see an erosion of the progress that’s been made.”
Over the last 10 years, vehicle thefts have been cut in half in the Queen City. However, thefts have shot up by a little over 20 per cent in the last year. That trend is continuing into 2016 as well, and officers are noticing a common theme among victims.
“Almost half of all vehicles that were stolen in January, keys unfortunately were accessible to the offender,” Hagen explained.
He said whether keys were left in the ignition or somewhere else in the vehicle within sight of a criminal, it’s something that’s happening often.
Mayor Michael Fougere said he was surprised to learn of the carelessness of drivers.
“I would assume people would want to protect their property and take those keys out of their car,” he said.
“Take your keys with you. Lock your car.”
The trend is troubling and that’s why Hagen said they’ll explore if it’s young or old people committing the crime and what their motive is. In the past police reported that offenders would steal vehicles simply for a joy ride. More recently, thefts are happening as part of other crimes.
Hagen said they’ll release the report at the next Board of Police Commissioners meeting scheduled for March 30.