keysIn 2017, there were 106 stolen vehicles reported to the South Bruce Ontario Provincial Police. Provincially, the numbers continue to rise most notably in rural and agricultural communities within southwestern Ontario. In over 50 per cent of the cases, the thefts were preventable. This means that the vehicle was left unlocked, had the keys inside or was left running making it easy for thieves.

The South Bruce OPP is launching the #PocketYourKeys Auto Theft Prevention campaign today to further educate the public on their responsibility to ensure their vehicle is secured at all times and highlight the risks associated with the theft of vehicles.

When a vehicle is stolen, the consequences go far beyond its loss. The vehicle could be used in a criminal act like a break and enter, transporting stolen property, trafficking of drugs or human trafficking. Another risk for a vehicle owner is the liability should it be involved in a serious crash.

The OPP will use social media platforms to launch the #PocketYourKeys campaign with the goal of having vehicle owners take responsibility of their keys when the vehicle is not in use. Posters, poster cards and short videos will be made available for use by schools and community partners. These products will also be available to the media and members of the public on the OPP internet at opp.ca. The campaign will run over a three week period.

Below are some simple steps to help reduce the number of stolen vehicles and protect you as the vehicle owner:

- Do not leave your keys in your vehicle.
- Do not leave your vehicle running.
- Lock your vehicle.
- Treat your keys like cash - Don't leave keys in places where they are easy to steal such as a gym locker, on your desk at work, in an open purse or unattended in a shopping cart.
- Never leave anything in your vehicle in plain view such as loose change, cell phones, cameras, clothing, gifts, cigarettes, medication, firearms or any other valuables.
- Install a remote car starter - Remote starters are designed to shut off if anyone attempts to drive the vehicle without a key. This will allow you to warm up your car without risk of theft.

Theft is a crime of opportunity that you can help control -- #PocketYourKeys.

"#PocketYourKeys is not only about vehicle theft, it's about our responsibilities to ensure our communities are safe by taking a simple preventative measure; it's a public safety initiative that will protect both property and people," says Inspector Dana Earley, Detachment Commander, OPP South Bruce Detachment.

source: media release, South Bruce OPP

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