The Calgary Police Service is urging citizens to keep their vehicles locked and their keys in a safe location following a significant increase in ‘Key of Convenience’ thefts.
‘Key of Convenience’ thefts are those incidents where an original vehicle key is stored in a place convenient to the owner of the vehicle. Common key storage locations reported to CPS include:
- In the ignition while a vehicle is left running
- In the console, under the floor mat or inside the fuel-filler area
- Leaving spare keys in an adjacent vehicle at a residence, or inside an unlocked garage
In January 2015, 137 vehicle thefts involving the vehicle’s own key were reported to CPS, compared to only 73 reported cases in January 2014. An increase in preventable crime such as this is hugely concerning to the Service.
In a recent incident, a vehicle that was left unlocked and idling was stolen from outside a south Calgary residence. The driver of the vehicle was observed to be travelling at a high rate of speed, running red lights and driving to the left of centre. Several different CPS units, including HAWCS, assisted in the response in an effort to ensure public safety. The vehicle was driven all over the city and throughout multiple jurisdictions. Despite best efforts, the offender was not apprehended.
These crimes are not specific to any one area of the city, and are typically classified as crimes of opportunity.
CPS would like to remind citizens on how they can avoid this type of crime with the following prevention tips:
- Always keep your keys in a secure location, including spare keys. Avoid leaving keys in or around your vehicle.
- Never leave your car unattended while the keys are in the ignition.
- Report any suspicious activity to police immediately by call 403-266-1234, or 9-1-1 in an emergency.