Community vigilance has reached a new high as auto theft remains the top-reported crime in Aldergrove and property crime numbers remain constant, according to local Mounties.
January’s crime stats, compiled by Langley RCMP, were top of the mind during a public meeting aimed at tackling theft in the community.
The meeting, organized by The Aldergrove Community Consultative Group, was held before a small crowd at the Kinsmen Centre on Feb. 19.
Dozens were in attendance for the evening meeting that led by the Langley RCMP Cpl. Kurt Neuman, Aldergrove’s community police liaison.
It also featured presentations by Township crime prevention specialist Dianne Robinson and Block Watch coordinator Florence Fowler.
Neuman turned the spotlight on a few key topics, vehicle thefts among them.
In the month of January, Aldergrove saw one vehicle stolen approximately every two days, amounting to 13 cars taken — four cars and nine trucks, the corporal announced.
“Trucks are still the choice for these crimes,” said Neuman.
Neuman suggests residents with older vehicles use a steering wheel club to deter thieves from stealing during their initial inspection of the vehicle.
“When there’s a club thieves have to cut the steering wheel, bend the metal and then slip the club out in order to steal the car,” he said.
“Only once in my entire career have I ever seen a thief go to that amount of trouble.”
One third of the monthly crimes reported (theft from vehicles accounting for 33 per cent) are “preventable by just moving stuff out from our vehicles,” he said.
Property crime reports jumped to 116 this January to February, a significant increase from the 69 reported from January to March 2018.
“We have to make sure were making things difficult for criminals. We cannot leave any valuables in our cars and we must secure both our property and the belongings on it,” Neuman said, stressing the importance of reporting suspicious activity to police.
“Everytime that we get more information we are able to deploy more resources,” he explained.
Neuman recalled growing up in Clayton Heights, when his family did not lock their doors, but admitted that times have changed.
For crime to occur there have to be three elements: a motivated offender, an opportunity and a lack of guardianship, he elaborated.
“As soon as you remove any of the three elements you can remove the crime,” Neuman said, confident the community can work together to ward off the property and vehicle theft ravaging Aldergrove.