Lock it or lose it, warns RCMP

A small community like Stettler doesn’t have some of the big-city difficulties or crime tendencies, but one thing is for certain:

A small community like Stettler doesn’t have some of the big-city difficulties or crime tendencies, but one thing is for certain: If people leave valuables in their vehicles and don’t lock the door, chances are it won’t be there when they come back.

“You should be able to live in a small community like Stettler and not have to lock your doors,” RCMP Cpl. Cam Russell said. “Unfortunately, there are people who go around checking vehicles for open doors, and if they find one, they’ll ransack the vehicle.”

Russell said that while theft from unlocked vehicles isn’t a large problem in the community, it is happening and is often overlooked or under-reported.

People who leave valuables in their vehicle with the doors unlocked might lose the valuables, but people who leave valuables in plain sight in a locked vehicle could lose more.

A locked door is a deterrent, but if someone truly wants something from your vehicle, needing to smash a window won’t stop them. Several vehicles had windows smashed in during the long weekend, Russell said, though at this time police aren’t able to say if it was targeted mischief or a smash-and-grab.

“Don’t leave valuables in the vehicle,” Russell said. “If, for some reason, you have to, don’t leave them in plain sight.”

Valuables should be put in the glove compartment or tucked under a seat, so they’re not visible to someone who comes by, looking for a possible score.

Sometimes, a pack of cigarettes is enough to cause someone to smash in a window, so even those should be out of sight.

If a vehicle owner comes back and finds their vehicle has been broken into, they should avoid touching anything and phone police at 911 or on the complaint line at 403-742-3381. Police will come to document the situation and check the vehicle for any evidence.

As for local calls, the police are finding themselves increasingly busy as the weather improves, Russell said.

This past Friday, May 23, saw six people lodged in cells for various charges, most of which boiled down to drunk and disorderly behaviour, he said.