Thefts of motor vehicles continue to be an issue in the Battlefords and across the province.
Battlefords RCMP has provided the News-Optimist with numbers from the third quarter July-September for the detachment. In the city of North Battleford, there has been a total of 58 thefts of vehicle and two instances of taking motor vehicles without consent.
In the combined stats for the Town of Battleford and rural area of the detachment, there have been 40 thefts of vehicles and nine of taking a motor vehicle without consent.
Battlefords RCMP also provided numbers for the first and second quarters of the year. For quarter one numbers in Battleford/Rural it was 24 vehicle thefts and eight take vehicle without consents. For the city, it was 41 thefts and 9 without-consents.
In quarter two for Rural/Battleford, there were 55 thefts and nine take-without-consents. For the city, it was 41 thefts and nine take-without-consents.
According to a note provided to the News-Optimist from Staff-Sgt. Darcy Woolfitt, in some instances the owners had left their keys in their vehicles, and in other cases some vehicles were left running. As for the take-vehicles-without consent stats, those are all cases where the owner knew the person who took their vehicle and most were not charged.
"In all we have a significant amount of vehicle thefts," Woolfitt stated.
Thefts of motor vehicles have been an issue throughout the province. The Saskatchewan Crime Watch Advisory Network that was recently set up in the province has frequently reported instances of vehicles being stolen, in an effort to seek information from tipsters to track down the individuals responsible for the thefts.
Instances reported by the network recently include a theft of a quad around St. Walburg between Sept. 16 and Oct. 6, the theft of a Dodge Ram between Oct. 27-28 in the Battlefords, a stolen Grey F150 around Maidstone, two trucks stolen around Kerrobert, a stolen blue Dodge Ram from Maidstone Oct. 21, a red Dodge Ram from the Battlefords on Oct. 20, and three vehicles stolen overnight in Unity Oct. 17.
The SGI website offers several tips to motor vehicle owners to help them protect their vehicles from being stolen.
One is to never leave your keys in a vehicle, and to not mark your keys with identification or your vehicle licence plate number. Another is to not leave personal belongings in a vehicle, to never leave vehicles running and unattended, and to never leaves the doors unlocked and the windows open.
SGI also recommends investing in anti-theft devices including steering wheel bars, a security collar, electronic disabling devices and vehicle alarms.
The RCMP provides a similar message: do not leave your vehicle to warm up, do not leave keys in your vehicle, make sure you lock your vehicle, do not leave valuables in your vehicle, do not leave firearms in your vehicle, and make sure your home is secure and that vehicle keys are not left in a location (ie. the front door) where they can easily be taken.