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AMA warns motorists to lock it or lose it

Don't leave holiday gifts out in plain sight in your vehicle, reminds the Alberta Motor Association
The AMA's Lock it or Lose It campaign is in full swing during the holiday shopping season. Photo supplied.

At the busiest shopping time of the year, the Alberta Motor Association (AMA) is warning drivers to Lock It Or Lose It.

While Alberta currently experiences the second-highest rate of auto theft across the country, AMA’s Lock It or Lose It campaign shares easy steps drivers can take to prevent vehicle theft: remove keys, hide or remove all valuables, and lock your doors.

“Many vehicle thefts, and thefts of valuables from vehicles, are crimes of opportunity,” said Jeff Kasbrick, Vice President of Advocacy and Operations at the AMA. “Simply removing your valuables or holiday shopping bags, removing your keys from the ignition, and locking your doors—even if you’ll only be gone for a minute—will deter many thieves looking for an easy target.”

And with more people taking road trips to visit friends and family, Kasbrick notes it’s especially important to think about what you’re leaving in view. “At this time of year, thieves are on the lookout for expensive holiday gifts. Whether you’re parked outside a family member’s home or just stopping to stretch your legs, leaving gifts in sight of a thief is an open invitation.”

According to Statistics Canada, in 2021 Alberta accounted for 19% of all thefts from motor vehicles across the country of amounts totalling $5,000 or less. Fully 28,989 vehicles were broken into in Alberta last year—79 vehicles every day. And the number of motor vehicle thefts in Alberta is also alarming. In 2021, 17,756 vehicles—or 49 every day—were stolen in Alberta, or one in five of all motor vehicle thefts nationally.

Theft from vehicles can also open the door to identity theft, if items with personal information, such as insurance papers and vehicle registration, are stolen. And garage door openers and keys left in the vehicle can increase the risk of home burglaries.

AMA encourages drivers to spread the word about Lock It or Lose It and share their stories using the hashtag #LockItOrLoseIt.