By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
The message is simple – lock it or lose it.
It’s a message that Durham Regional Police Service has been promoting for years, and while it has gotten through to some, Const. George Tudos says many residents still leave themselves open to theft from their vehicle on a daily basis.
“This type of crime can occur anywhere – whether it’s at home, when you are at the mall or at a park,” Tudos says.
With a recent increase in thefts from vehicles in both Oshawa and Whitby, DPRS is actively reaching out the community through the “Lock It or Lose It” campaign.
“Officers will go around and check every vehicle in the area, and leave pamphlets [for people who left their vehicles unlocked] about the risks of leaving their vehicles unlocked,” Tudos says.
DRPS is also going door-to-door for a “crime prevention canvas’, where they speak directly to residents about property crime.
Tudos says recent canvasses in Whitby and Oshawa were well-received, adding residents will often tell officers that they “forgot” to lock their vehicle or they didn’t think they’d become a victim of such a crime.
“Sometimes as a police officer it can be frustrating because we are always trying to relay the message,” Tudos says. “You hear a lot of excuses and a lot of times these incidents can be avoided.”
Protecting oneself against theft goes further than simply locking up your vehicle.
Tudos warns that leaving valuables such as money, cell phones and others items in plain sight will draw attention of potential criminals.
“They will not hesitate to break a window [to get inside]”.
Often suspects will pick out a specific area and “try every door handle” and any neighbourhood can become victim to this type of behaviour.
“Crime doesn’t really have boundaries,” Tudos says.