ON THE ROAD with Harvey: Top ways to thwart car thieves


ICBC Road Safety Coordinator



HAVE you ever left your cellphone in your car while you ran an errand? How about your tablet or work tools? These are some of the top items stolen from vehicles.

For the first time in a decade, auto crime is on the rise in B.C. Police data shows that in 2014, vehicle thefts increased 31 per cent and vehicle break-ins increased 17 per cent in B.C. compared to 2013.

April is Auto Crime Enforcement Month in B.C. and a great opportunity to caution drivers to keep their keys secure at all times, lock their vehicles whenever they’re unattended and remove electronics and other valuables.

Walking to your car or truck to find that it has been stolen or broken into is more than just an inconvenience. Many people rely on their vehicles to commute to work and use specialized tools to do their jobs.

HEADLINES ROAD COLUMN KeyInDoor photoThese are the top ways you can protect your vehicle and belongings:

– Keep your keys secure at all times. Don’t leave your keys unguarded including at a restaurant or gym and don’t store your spare or valet key in your vehicle – or your spouse’s vehicle.

– Always lock your doors and close your windows, even if you’re away from your vehicle for just a minute. When fueling your vehicle, keep your keys with you at all times and lock your vehicle if you go inside to pay.

– When leaving your vehicle, remove electronics and valuables, including credit cards and ID, tools, and keys and put anything that could tempt a thief in the trunk – even loose change or empty shopping bags.

– At home, use a motion sensor light for your driveway and remove the garage door opener if your vehicle is parked outside. Elsewhere, park in well-lit areas near pedestrian traffic.

– If you own an older model vehicle not equipped with an immobilizer, your vehicle is at a higher risk of being stolen. To reduce your risk, use an anti-theft device like a steering wheel lock or install an immobilizer.

For a list of the top stolen vehicles in B.C., and more information on preventing auto crime, visit icbc.com.