An increase in vehicle thefts this year has caused concern from residents and the Okotoks RCMP.

Between January and June 2017 there have been 29 new vehicle theft investigations, what's alarming the RCMP though is that in 73% of those cases the vehicle was left unattended and unlocked or had the keys inside.

RCMP Sgt. Sukh Randhawa says these numbers lead the Okotoks RCMP Crime Reduction Unit to do a vehicle check.

"On July 11th 2017, Okotoks RCMP completed a check of 150 vehicles parked in residential neighbourhoods, 13% of the vehicles checked were found to be unlocked."

Randhawa says this number is alarming, because it's a message the RCMP have put out again, and again.

"What we found during these checks, was that a number of the vehicles had been left unlocked by vehicle owners." Randhawa shares his dismay, "That is alarming to us because in the past we have tried to reach out to the public through media and educate them to lock their vehicles and remove the keys and / or any valuables."

Randhawa says that thieves look for the easiest target, and if we as a community, made it more difficult to steal from vehicles, than the number of vehicle related crimes should lessen.

There is some easy and basic things that you can do to ensure your vehicle is safe, Randhawa says it all starts with being vigilante and looking out for your neighbours.

"Number 1 - be vigilant as neighbours, look out for each other, 2 - lock your vehicle when it's unattended, Also remove all of the items or any valuables from the vehicle, such as laptops, money or change, tools and clothing. These are some of the things that thieves are always looking for."

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