EVEN as the overall crime rate in Abbotsford is declining this year as compared to 2016, one area that is going against the trend is theft from autos. In fact, this crime category has seen a significant spike when compared to 2016, says Abbotsford Police.
From January 1 to May 21, there have been 859 reported ‘theft from auto’ incidents. That compares to 794 during the same period last year – an 8% increase. This is in stark contrast to the fact that overall property crime is down more than 5%.
April and May numbers are the most alarming in that they are some of the worst police have seen in recent years. April had 207 reports of ‘theft of auto’ which was the highest month in the past year. The first three weeks of May have not been good either. There have been 182 reports from May 1 to May 21 compared to 123 in the same time period of 2016. That represents a 48% increase.
Yet the fact remains that most of these thefts are preventable, says Abbotsford Police Constable Ian MacDonald. Many vehicles are still being left unlocked. Even more vehicles are being left with valuables inside – that is, until the thief shows up.
The Abbotsford Police Department is increasing patrols and targeting prolific criminals. Bait cars and bait merchandise has been deployed in some of the harder hit areas of the city. Those police responses in combination with owners making a concerted effort to lock their vehicles and remove valuables can reverse this trend, MacDonald noted.