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It's not really an epidemic is it?

MacEachern Mindset

There’s no shortage of folks that will tell you vehicle theft is a problem in our community, but is it really the epidemic some people make it seem?

Based on statistics shared by the local RCMP, the number of vehicles stolen has remained consistent over the past five years. That’s not to say it’s not an issue or something residents should be wary about, but it’s not the outrageous outpour of criminals targeting automobiles that some may think.

If I’m being honest, I believe social media has played a huge role in increasing awareness, not only when it comes to vehicle theft, but all news. Being able to spread the word by posting a photo online has made access to this information easier and shareable.

It’s not the same as years ago when you would hear from a friend of a friend that their cousin’s wife’s car was stolen two weeks ago. We get the news almost instantaneously, or at least as quickly as someone notices their truck is missing.

Not only that, but the victim of the theft can have a photo of their vehicle online for all to see within moments.

So, in retrospect, we’re seeing first-hand a lot more than we used to, even before social media.

That also means that we have access to information, tools, and tips on how to protect our belongings and ourselves.

While it may seem like common sense to lock your vehicle and not leave it running with the keys inside, the Bonnyville RCMP have seen it time and time again where that’s exactly how a car or truck was taken, because it was easy.

I’m not victim blaming. What I’m doing is suggesting residents take that extra step and be cautious. Think twice before leaving valuables in your car, and always lock the doors. Don’t hide the keys under the visor or the floor mat. Take them out of the vehicle with you.

I have made it a habit to take my keys out of the car when I’m pumping gas or checking the mail. In fact, I go as far as locking the doors of my vehicle while I do these things, because it’s an extra step I can take to keep my vehicle and my belongings safe.

I know what a lot of you are thinking “well it never used to be this way,” but just like anything, we need to adjust to the times. Change isn’t always a bad thing, especially if it means coming out to your car and what’s inside of it still there.

Meagan MacEachern, Bonnyville Nouvelle