Vancouver police report 40-percent surge in auto crime as Surrey RCMP nab thieves with bait car

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      Police are warning Vancouverites to take precautions to protect their cars due to heightened frequency in vehicular crimes.

      At a Vancouver Police Department press conference held today (April 24), Sgt. Jason Robillard said that from January to March, theft from vehicles rose by 39.4 percent in comparison to the same period last year.

      In response to the sharp increase, Sgt. Robillard reminded the public that there are easy things that people can do to prevent theft.

      “You may think that an item is not valuable, like a car charger or a jacket, but it might be enough to tempt a thief,” Sgt. Robillard stated. “The effort it takes to remove all visible items in your car is minimal, when compared to the cost and hassle of replacing a broken car window.”

      He also recommended the use of the interactive mapping tool GeoDash which boosts awareness of policing activity in Vancouver, such as areas where thefts have taken place.

      While Sgt. Robillard said there may be specific hotspots for theft, the problem is citywide.

      In December, 2017, over 35 suspects were arrested and over 80 charges were recommended during a monthlong crackdown on auto-crime in downtown Vancouver.

      Sgt. Robillard added that police resources are being allocated to address the problem, including the VPD's Chronic Offender unit, surveillance teams, and patrol officers, and bait cars are also being used.

      Meanwhile, Surrey RCMP announced today (April 24) that two auto-crime thieves have been arrested.

      Police officers were alerted to and witnessed two men stealing and driving a bait car on April 16 in the north end of Surrey.

      Two Surrey residents were arrested: 29-year-old Joel Falk, who is charged with motor-vehicle theft, possession of a break-in instrument, and mischief of $5,000; and 42-year-old Bryan Christopher Becker, charged with motor-vehicle theft and possessing a break-in instrument.

      Surrey RCMP stated that Stolen Auto Recovery program volunteers have helped to recover 17 stolen vehicles in Surrey to date this year.

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