Did you know that a professional thief can steal your vehicle in only 30 seconds, and they don’t even need the key to do it? That shocking statistic is the basis for the award-winning "Lock It or Lose It” campaign run by the OPP and supported by the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
The campaign is a crime prevention initiative that encourages drivers to take simple, common-sense precautions with their vehicles at this theft-prone time of the year. We’ve seen this campaign take many shapes and forms over the years, and oddly enough, people are still leaving their vehicles unlocked and their valuables in sight.
What does this mean for you?
Auto theft and crime at this time of the year can be devastating, so why take the chances with your valuables? The program reminds drivers to take simple steps to ensure the safety of their vehicles and their holiday purchases.
Let’s take a look at the four things you should always do when exiting your vehicle.
- Roll up the windows!
First, it’s cold outside. Why leave your windows open, anyway? Certainly this is a more relevant reminder during warmer times of the year, but it still happens even when the snow is falling. Put all the windows up so that no one has access to the inside of your vehicle—you’d be surprised what a professional thief can do with just a half a centimeter of space.
- Ensure all valuables are out of sight!
No, you can’t just throw a coat over your packages and assume that no one will be able to tell what they are! If you can look into your back window and can tell, then a professional thief will be able to tell, too. Put Christmas packages and purchases in your trunk, or take them inside with you at each stop. When they’re out of sight, your vehicle presents a much less tempting target. No thief is going to waste time and risk breaking into a car if they’re not sure there’ll be a reward for doing so!
- Lock your doors!
This may seem like a no-brainer, but at this time of year, thieves are savvy and watchful. Just running in the house for a few minutes? If you’ve left packages in your car, or your doors unlocked, you’ve practically left a flashing neon sign for thieves.
When out and about in town, lock your door at each and every stop. Double check if you have to, because an unlocked car is an invitation for trouble.
- Put away your keys!
Pocket them, zip them up in your bag, or wear them around your neck on a lanyard. Don’t leave them in plain sight, hanging out of your bag or halfway out of your coat. This is similar to your valuables—placing keys out of sight removes their theft from the equation. And wearing them around your neck makes them visible to you at all times. Even an amateur thief will have no problem removing unsecured keys and walking around the parking lot to find your vehicle—newer cars have electric key fobs, and all a thief needs to do is wander the lot pressing the buttons until they find your car.
Still not convinced? Watch this "Lock It or Lose It” promotional video from the OPP (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_9BVDU6ZMg) —and hopefully next time you’re out and about, you’ll remember to place all valuables out of sight and secure that vehicle! And tell a friend, too. Let’s all have a happy holiday season, theft free!