Business owners, an RCMP constable, the Mayor, a technology rep and the Chamber sat down on September 27th to talk about the stream of thefts our community has experienced in the end of summer months. The discussion included an update from RCMP on theft patterns and what they are seeing, successful theft reduction programs in other communities, video options, and plans for moving forward.
Constable Dyer confirmed that the vehicles stolen have not been locked and that a set of keys were in the vehicle or on the vehicle (for example by the gas tank or a neighbouring vehicle). There have been no broken windows to steal cars and there have been no reprogramming of fobs. Dyer expressed the importance of locking your vehicles, keeping valuables out of the cars, and keys in the house. Highway 3 has been a target for thieves and these thieves are looking for opportunities, like unlocked vehicles.
Jesse Mould of Isosceles spoke about cameras available for businesses. If a business is looking into getting cameras for their site, they should be aware of the focal length on the camera. Will the camera capture a picture of someone 30-40 feet away from the lens? The RCMP confirmed that video footage helps them put together crime timelines.
Another insight shared by the RCMP is that thieves are finding a vehicle to steal and then using it to collect valuables from other vehicles. It is that one unsecured vehicle is creating risk for another’s property. The stolen vehicles are driven to Alberta, items sold off, and vehicle ditched.
At a subsequent City Council meeting on October 8, SGT. Tribes confirmed that three suspects are in custody in Calgary in connection with the Fernie thefts.
Looking forward, efforts will be focused on exploring programs like Surrey’s Lock Out Program, encouraging businesses to build a security policy, and an awareness campaign to the public to lock their vehicles. Victims of theft are encouraged to contact the RCMP as soon as they become aware of the situation. “Don’t wait until morning to report a theft if you know it happened in the middle of the night” said Constable Dyer.
The meeting attendees are looking to continuing discussions and building plans to reduce Fernie’s theft target. Those interested in knowing more, or participating in future conversations are invited to contact the Fernie Chamber of Commerce at 250.423.6868.
(From the Fernie Chamber of Commerce)