Auto Crime Enforcement Month: Check your doors before they do

March 29, 2019

April is Auto Crime Enforcement Month and this year the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT), the Province of British Columbia, and ICBC are asking vehicle owners to take a proactive approach to preventing auto crime. The theme "Check Your Doors Before They Do" encourages drivers to protect themselves, and their vehicles from becoming victims of crimes of opportunity.

It is far too common in British Columbia for vehicles to be left unlocked and unattended and potential thieves can walk past parked vehicles and check to see if doors are left unlocked. We are encouraging owners to take the extra step and precaution to make sure their vehicles are locked and secured at all times. If the doors are locked and any personal valuables have been secured, the crime can be prevented from occurring.

The statistics from the past year show a 4.2 per cent increase in theft from auto across British Columbia with significant increases outside of Metro Vancouver. While auto theft across British Columbia decreased by 13.2 per cent in 2018, IMPACT is encouraging drivers to combat preventable thefts with proactive measures like the '9 pm Routine' which encourages vehicle owners to check on their vehicle each night at 9pm to ensure it is safe and secure and all measures are made to avoid being a victim of auto crime.

While criminals continue to target vehicles for items like: smartphones, personal electronics, sunglasses and cash, there is always a larger concern with items with long term effects. For example, garage door openers, stolen from a vehicle to may be used to gain entry to a home at a later date, or personal items and documents left behind can lead to identity theft.

The best way to combat these threats is to remove all valuables and personal items from your vehicle and leave nothing in plain sight that potential thieves could target.

"In British Columbia we saw the number of thefts from vehicles increase by four percent. Fifty-eight thousand vehicles were broken into in 2018," said Insp. Brian MacDonald, Officer in Charge of IMPACT. "We need to see this number drop significantly in order to say we are making a meaningful dent in auto crime. "

"Auto crime is not only an upsetting and inconvenient experience for our customers, but also adds pressure on claims costs," said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC Vice President Public Affairs. "Last year, stolen vehicle claims cost ICBC customers approximately $52 million and vehicle break-in claims cost another $17 million. Taking action to prevent auto crime not only helps to control claims costs, but also helps make our communities and roads safer." 

"Auto crime doesn't discriminate, it affects people no matter where they live or what car they drive. With the 9pm routine, we're asking British Columbians to make a conscious effort to protect their vehicles and valuables from the most common type of auto crime: theft from vehicles," said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. "The Police, the IMPACT team, and B.C.'s Bait Car program continue to protect our communities from these crimes of opportunity and take down auto thieves—but public safety is everyone's responsibility—so let's all do our part to help make it harder for thieves and help keep our vehicles and communities safe. In order to keep vehicles safe, it requires a conscious effort by the owners."

Some helpful tips include:

  • Never leave your vehicle idling and unattended.

  • Park in a locked, secure garage, or a well-lit, high-traffic area.

  • Remove anything that a thief could target. Personal items, valuables or electronics.

  • Install an alarm system.

  • Always lock your vehicle.

More safety tips can be found here:

For more information and to see the Top 10 Auto Crime Offenders, please visit:

Media contact:

Insp. Brian MacDonald

Media contact:

Insp. Brian MacDonald