According to statistics provided to paNOW from the Prince Albert Police Service, vehicles have been stolen at a rate of almost one per day this month in the city.
There have been 26 so far this month, and 313 over the course of the year. Police spokesperson Alanna Adamko said the majority of vehicle thefts are preventable.
"The number one thing residents can do to prevent vehicle theft is to lock their vehicle, ensure the keys are not left in the vehicle and that you guard your keys from being stolen and do not leave them out in the open in a public place," she said.
There is one positive spin to the numbers. The total number of vehicle thefts is down 10 per cent compared to the same time last year. When asked what were the most common types of vehicles stolen in the city, Adamko said it was four-door sedans (109 this year), with pickup trucks taking second place at 74 stolen.
"Newer model vehicles are extremely difficult to steal without keys and suspects are now stealing keys in break-and-enters or thefts and using them to steal vehicles," she said.
The problem has not been isolated to the City of Prince Albert. Prince Albert RCMP Sgt. Lyle Korzak said they have 10 reported vehicle thefts this month, compared to 16 at the same time last year.
"It's coming down overall but it's still an issue," he said.
Much like Adamko, Korzak said 99 per cent of all the thefts could have been prevented.
"There is the odd anomaly where the keys are taken out of a house, but nine times out of 10 it's because the keys are accessible in the vehicle," he said.
paNOW has reached out to several insurance brokers in the city for comment, and they all confirmed they received a number of automobile theft complaints in the past month. Kale Harnett at Affinity Insurance said they had a client as recently as Tuesday, who came in to file a claim. In that case the vehicle owner was able to find their vehicle, as they had a GPS unit attached to it.
In terms of coverage, an SGI spokesperson has told paNOW vehicle owners who have an SGI auto pak would have their deductible waived if they suffered vehicle loss. Anyone who has a basic package would still be on the hook. Harnett said just because deductibles are waived, it does not mean vehicle owners should be any less cautious.
"Don't leave your car running with the keys in it because while [thefts] are still covered, who knows maybe if many more vehicles get stolen, [SGI] will put a clause in the policy," he said.
On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell
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