With summer upon us many are heading out to enjoy everything that downtown Victoria has to offer. Whether strolling along through the Inner Harbour, Westsong Walkway, spending time at Ships Point or shopping on Fort Street it’s great to see people out and enjoying those things that make our downtown special. Unfortunately, with this enjoyment comes three types of calls that increase each time the weather warms up; theft of bikes, theft from vehicles and calls for pets locked in hot cars.
Bike theft is often on the rise in the summertime as more people are out with their bikes, which in turn provides bike thieves with more opportunities to steal. This year we’ve seen a dramatic increase in these reports. In the few weeks we’ve seen reports of stolen bikes go up to more than triple what we saw in that same time period last year. While this could partially be the result of more people reporting when their bikes are stolen, our Ops Council believes that prolific bike thieves may again at work.
While we work to target bike thieves, the best ways to avoid being victimized are:
- Always lock your bike. Even if you are going inside for just a moment.
- Lock your bike with a sturdy bike lock
- Lock your bike even if stored inside. Many bike thefts are from storage lockers inside buildings
- Register your bike with us and make sure you place your “Registered with VicPD” sticker in a prominent spot on your bike. For more information on registering your bike please visit vicpd.ca/bike. You can print out the registration form directly from our website. It’s that easy!
In the event that your bike is stolen, it is always best to report the theft to us right away. Bikes which are registered with us and reported stolen quickly after the theft are the ones that are most often returned with the most ease.
For those of us who are travelling by four wheels instead of two, theft from vehicles is also something to be aware of during the warm summer months. We’re targeting those who steal from vehicles, but the best defense against discovering your vehicle has been broken into is to not leave anything in your vehicle. The dollar’s worth of nickels and dimes in your cup holder will draw in a thief and can result in smashed windows and expensive insurance claims. Even secured parking areas with foot patrols are not immune to thefts from vehicles, so instead of relying on good timing by security patrols, by simply not leaving anything in your vehicle, you work to protect not only your belongings from thieves, but you help protect the entire area. Those who steal from vehicles are far less likely to return to a location that has not yielded items that they can make off with quickly.
Valuables not to leave in your vehicle includes pets. Each year we get several dogs in hot cars calls and for a few of these our officers end up having to break windows in order to rescue the pets in distress. Recently, Victoria City Council member Charlayne Thorton-Joe and CHEK News’ Tess Van Straaten locked themselves in a hot car for a short period of time in order to demonstrate the risks. Within less than 30 minutes temperatures in the vehicle reached 50 degrees Celsius – potentially fatal to any pet left in the vehicle. Please do not leave your pet in your hot vehicle during hot summer days for any length of time. Our own K9 vehicles are equipped with air conditioning units, mesh-screened openable windows and heat alarms. Unless your vehicle is similarly outfitted, by leaving your pet in your car you could very easily be risking its life.