Surrey – Over the past four weeks close to 12,000 vehicles in Surrey have been audited in an effort to try and prevent thieves from targeting vehicles this holiday season.

The City of Surrey, Surrey RCMP, Surrey Crime Prevention Society and ICBC partnered to educate the community on the importance of practising prevention. Teams of volunteers conducted vehicle audits throughout the city letting drivers know that by following some basic rules and taking some necessary precautions, one can minimize the chances of becoming a victim of this type of crime.

“It’s important for drivers to protect their vehicles by locking the doors and not leaving presents and valuables in full view. Otherwise, vehicles becomes an easy target for thieves who are trying to enjoy Christmas at your expense,” says Mayor Dianne Watts. She adds volunteers focused on large shopping mall, recreation centre, and transit parking lots.

“Auto crime can be particularly upsetting during the holiday season so we wanted to raise awareness about some of the simple steps we can all take to try and prevent it from happening,” says Councillor Barinder Rasode, Chair of the Community Safety Committee. She adds even keeping items in the trunk isn’t safe because thieves may see you place them there.

According to ICBC, 5,200 vehicles were stolen, 11,000 vehicles were broken into, and 12,000 vehicles were vandalized in the Lower Mainland in 2011.