By Abigail Cukier
While the Hamilton Police Service is reporting thefts from vehicles have risen 20 per cent in the east end in the past five years, Det. Sgt. Glenn Jarvie said residents should not be alarmed.
A recent report found that across the city, vehicle break-ins were up 29 per cent in August compared to the same month last year. This included 31 break-ins in the east end, which encompasses Sherman Avenue to Fifty Road, between Lake Ontario and Highway 20.
“This is not a huge amount,” Jarvie said. “That’s one a day in that whole area. That is not too bad.”
Jarvie also pointed out that thefts from vehicles were down in that area 46 per cent from July to August.
“They usually happen in rashes. They will go down one street and hit as many vehicles at one time as possible,” Jarvie said. “Then residents will come out in the morning and see that six vehicles were broken into overnight.
“But then that area will not get hit again, so they might not get caught. That is a challenge.”
Jarvie points out that vehicle break-ins are a crime of opportunity. The key is to decrease that opporunity.
“They will look for easy things, like loose change. Because you can’t identify that bag of money they have came from your vehicle,” he said.
“When you buy a coffee and get change back, put it in your pocket, not in your console.
Also, Sgt. Jarvie said “99 per cent” of vehicle break-ins take place overnight.
To help prevent vehicle break-ins, Sgt. Jarvie has these suggestions;
• Lock all doors and close all windows
• Don’t leave loose change or valuables in plain view
• Take valuables into your home each night instead of leaving them in the car
• Don’t leave the suction cup from your GPS on the dashboard
• If you’re planning to leave items in your car when you arrive at a destination, put them in your trunk before you arrive/
• If you put shopping bags in your trunk and then do more shopping, move your car after doing so
• Report all break-ins, no matter how minor
“You may not bother because your car was not damaged and they only took some loose change, but if we don’t know about these incidents and locations, we can’t follow up,” Sgt. Jarvie said. “Knowledge is power.”