November 29, 2021 12:57pm
The Perth County OPP are concerned about the growing number of vehicle thefts in the region. OPP Officers responded to close to 80 reports of stolen vehicles in the last year alone. Factor in the recovered vehicles, and officers could be dealing with a stolen vehicle every other day. This can also include stolen ATVs, snowmobiles, or even tractors.
In the same time frame the previous year, the Perth County OPP received almost 60 similar reports, and 70 in 2019.
A Perth County OPP report said the thefts almost always involve illegal substance use, and suspects who have no regard for the safety of others on the road.
Most vehicle thefts in this area are either unlocked with the keys left inside, or the keys are nearby.
They often use the vehicles to commit other crimes. And the thefts mean officers must spend hours of their time investigating.
The investigating officer will need to:
– take a statement from the victim
– look for evidence at the scene (possibly getting a forensically-trained officer to assist)
– canvas neighbours for witnesses and video surveillance
– write reports
– create a Zone Alert for the officers in surrounding counties to be on the lookout for the stolen vehicle, which all officers then have to read
– add the vehicle to the Canadian Police Information Centre
– request a media release for the public
When the vehicle is located, it may have been in a collision, which could result in injuries, thus involving paramedic services, fire departments, hospitals, and tow trucks. Sometimes the vehicles are intentionally set on fire. An officer then has to complete reports for the recovery of the stolen vehicle, and has to go through the same process – reports, statements of witnesses, look for evidence, cancel Zone Alerts, remove the vehicle from CPIC, and notify the owner of the recovery.
If a suspect is located with the vehicle, officers would then have to arrest the individual, and spend hours dealing with the accused, various reports and all required court documents. Occasionally officers are needed to testify in court.
What can the public do to help?
– Lock your vehicle
– Do not leave keys accessible in vehicles or in unlocked garages and sheds
– Ensure your property is well lit, and consider motion lights
– Install security features, such as alarms and surveillance cameras
– Store smaller vehicles like ATVs, snowmobiles and tractors indoors, if possible
– Report suspicious activity immediately
– Make sure to report thefts, even if it’s after the fact
Lately, the Perth County OPP have seen vehicles, and the trailer they are stored on, stolen. If possible, owners can block in the trailers/vehicles with another vehicle so it is not easily accessible.
In order to report a stolen vehicle, victims can call the OPP at 1-888-310-1122. It is now possible to report some crimes online at www.opp.ca/reporting.
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