Auto thefts spike in St. Albert
Auto theft is on the rise in St. Albert.
Since 2012, the number of stolen vehicles reported to police in the city has increased by 58 per cent.
Police found that in 2012 there were 80 vehicles stolen in the city. So far this year there have been 127 vehicle thefts. These numbers account for all vehicles, including quads and mopeds.
The numbers have been slowly rising over the last five years. In 2013 there were 66 vehicles stolen, but that number increased to 93 thefts in 2014. By 2015 the number had climbed to 116 vehicles stolen.
Police say there is no specific neighbourhood being targeted but rather the trend is playing out across the city.
In the annual policing report presented to city council on Oct. 17, Aaron Giesbrecht reported that the crime severity in St. Albert is below the provincial and national averages, and recent increases are similar to those being seen across the province.
Despite the rise in crime, Giesbrecht said that St. Albert still has the lowest crime severity in Alberta.
In the report Giesbrecht notes in the report that the economic downturn may be a contributing factor to the rising crime rates.
“With any economic downturn, labour markets are impacted, causing increased rates of unemployment, and therefore increased crime rates,” the report said.
The police will increase the amount of street checks to try to prevent any would-be criminals from committing offences. They will also turn on their lights when they go through neighbourhoods late at night to attempt to deter criminal activity.
McIntosh says the police are also following up with some known habitual offenders and people on parole or probation as an effort to reduce the crime.
Const. Beth McIntosh said that some of the vehicle thefts could be linked to crimes of opportunity.
“If you are the criminal element you are looking for the easiest vehicle to steal,” McIntosh said.
McIntosh said that along with the increased police checks, citizens can help protect themselves by keeping vehicles locked at all times with the keys stored somewhere safe, away from the vehicle.
“There is no specific time when these vehicles are being taken but the ones from peoples’ driveways are typically in the wee hours of the morning,” McIntosh said.
On Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 8:25 a.m. a 2004 silver Dodge Dakota pickup truck with the licence plate was stolen from the area of Glaewyn Estates. This is the second time this vehicle was stolen since October. The first theft occurred Oct. 18 and was found within 24 hours in Morinville. The truck has since been found a second time, this time in the Edmonton area. Nothing was removed from the truck.
Most recently, two vehicles were stolen at around 4:40 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6 from the Gilmore Crescent area. A 1999 Green Honda Civic four-door vehicle with the licence plate YTA 392 went missing along with a 2000 silver Honda CRV with the licence plate BSS 2090. These two vehicles are still missing.
Anyone with information about these or any other crimes is asked to contact St. Albert RCMP at 780-458-7700 or the Morinville RCMP at 780-939-4550. Anonymous tips can be provided to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or at www.tipsubmit.com.