Abbotsford Police record hike in thefts from vehicles

Numbers for the first three weeks of 2016 are up from the same period in 2014 and 2015

The Abbotsford Police Department is warning people to be more cautious about locking their cars and to not leave valuables inside after a hike in thefts from vehicles.

Const. Paul Walker said there have been 110 such crimes from Jan. 1 to 20 this year, compared to 99 for the same period in 2015 and 77 in 2014.

He said it’s not evident why the numbers are rising each year.

Walker said the thefts are occurring across Abbotsford and mainly involve thieves getting into unlocked vehicles and stealing items such as electronics, wallets, loose change and insurance papers.

Identity theft has resulted from some of the circumstances. For example, the thieves have used the personal information they have stolen to obtain fraudulent credit cards in the victims’ names.

Vehicles that have been targeted have been located both in driveways and parked on the street, Walker said.

He said there are few incidents of the thieves breaking windows or locks to get into the vehicles; most are crimes of opportunity based on the culprit coming across an unlocked car.

Meanwhile, the number of cars being stolen has also gone up. There were 42 such incidents reported from Jan. 1 to 20 of this year, compared to 32 in 2015 and 21 in 2014.