Every year, thousands of eager shoppers descend upon downtown Vancouver to shop for their loved ones under twinkling lights and brilliant neon signs. Unfortunately, the most wonderful time of year is plagued by a few bad apples looking to make a quick buck. The winter months traditionally see a spike in theft-from-autos (TFAs), impacting Vancouver’s businesses and tourism industry as victims of crime are less likely to return in the future.
TFAs had a 17 per cent increase year-over-year from 2018 to 2019. While property crime continues to be an issue in Vancouver, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk, expense, and inconvenience. We’ve partnered with the Downtown Vancouver BIA to help keep your possessions safe this holiday season. Here are some easy tactics to keep in mind while shopping this year:
1. Do not leave anything visible in your vehicle as it acts as an invitation for thieves to break in; this includes small, seemingly irrelevant items like phone chargers, sunglasses or spare change.
2. If you have to, leave gifts and other valuables in your trunk and not on show, but remember to disengage your trunk latch so your trunk cannot be opened from inside the car.
3. Try not to make multiple trips to your car to drop off your shopping bags.
4. Park in well-lit areas and try to use safe parking lots with onsite security.
5. Report suspicious activity or behaviour to police.
The DVBIA’s Downtown Safety Ambassadors are also there to lend a helping hand. Safety Ambassadors focus on the reduction of TFAs in downtown parking lots through visible presence and education when opportunities arise. The Ambassadors time their patrols to coincide with data received on peak areas and times when theft from autos occur. Parking companies are also being encouraged to increase security patrols during peak hours.
Theft from autos occur all year long, but make a much bigger impact in the winter months when individuals typically have more valuables in their car. Take the extra steps to make sure the holidays remain happy for everyone, (except thieves).