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ICBC and Kelowna RCMP help residents protect their vehicles from auto crime

December 18, 2012

theft-proof your car

Today, ICBC, Kelowna RCMP and crime prevention volunteers teamed up to launch the Operation Lock Up program to help residents protect their older model vehicles from being stolen by providing them with free steering wheel locks.

Although overall auto crime in B.C. is on the decline, vehicle thefts increased by three per cent in Kelowna and 80 per cent in West Kelowna in the first six months of 2012 compared to 2011. Break-ins also rose by 36 per cent in Kelowna and 47 per cent in West Kelowna during the first six months of 2012 compared to 2011.

"We want everyone to have a safe and happy Christmas season with their families, and to avoid the unnecessary stress of auto theft, especially at this time of year," said Mary Polak, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "This means remembering to have a good anti-theft device on your vehicle, and locking up your valuables, especially if you've done some holiday shopping. ICBC's Operation Lock Up is a great campaign which reminds drivers to be proactive and protect their vehicles from getting stolen."

The most common vehicles targeted by thieves in Kelowna and West Kelowna have been pre-2001 Honda Civics and pre-2008 Ford and Dodge pickup trucks.

Beginning December 18, 2012, community police volunteers will provide free steering wheel locks, while supplies last, to local residents who own these targeted vehicles and other pre-2001 vehicles not equipped with an anti-theft device. Local Kelowna and West Kelowna residents can obtain a steering wheel lock by bringing their vehicle registration to:

  • Mission Community Policing Office, 4065 Lakeshore Drive, Kelowna

  • Rutland Community Policing Office, 115 McIntosh Road, Kelowna

  • West Kelowna RCMP Detachment, 2390 Dobin Road, West Kelowna

We've made great strides in reducing auto crime in B.C. but since thieves look for easy targets, I encourage people to take advantage of this opportunity through Operation Lock Up to protect their vehicle from would-be thieves," said Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. "If you own an older vehicle, a steering wheel lock could make the difference between a great holiday, and having to call the police to report your vehicle stolen."

"Safer roads and less crime help make our communities safer," said Norm Letnick, Kelowna-Lake Country MLA. "We thank ICBC for distributing 200 free steering wheel locks in Kelowna and West Kelowna. This investment from ICBC is well worth it - and the program will pay for itself with reduced auto crime."

"We're proud of this award-winning auto crime initiative as it brings the community together to promote safer neighbourhoods," said John Dickinson, ICBC's director of road safety. "We want to help protect our customers in Kelowna and West Kelowna who own older vehicles, as these vehicles are more at risk of being stolen."

"Steering wheel locks are one of the most effective tools to use as a deterrent for car thieves," said Cst. Kris Clark, Kelowna RCMP media relations officer. "We're continuing to bring down auto theft rates, but older model vehicles are still being targeted."

In addition to using an anti-theft device, you can protect yourself from auto crime by parking in secure, well lit areas, removing valuables from your vehicle, always locking your vehicle and keeping your keys in a safe place.

For more tips on how to protect your vehicle from thieves, visit icbc.com.

Media contact:
Michelle Hargrave, ICBC
250-979-4642

Cst. Kris Clark, RCMP
250-470-6361