With the Airdronians bearing the coldest part of the winter so far, Operation Cold Start is back this week with the Alberta and Airdrie RCMP.

Operation Cold Start commenced on January 8 and will last until the 12. The program is designed to work with the public to reduce the theft of idling vehicles during the winter months. While the operation is supposed to end on Friday, Airdrie RCMP will be starting their own operation today and it will last into the weekend, according to Jennifer Weedmark with the Airdrie RCMP.

"In order to do your part to keep your vehicle safe, it's important to never leave your vehicle running and unattended."

Various duties will be carried out by law enforcement organizations to ensure the safety of cars. They will be inspecting unattended, idling cars to see if the keys are inside and that they are properly secure. Additionally, officers will be taking part in public education campaigns to teach people how to protect their property.

“Warming up your vehicle briefly before your commute might seem convenient, but this convenience can turn into a serious problem when your vehicle is stolen. Vehicle-related crimes often occur due to opportunistic situations,” says Cpl. Mike Fulton of the Alberta RCMP’s Community Safety and Well-being Branch. “In 2021, 8.3 per cent of vehicles stolen in Alberta RCMP jurisdiction were left idling. The goal of Operation Cold Start is to reduce crime by educating Albertans on steps they can take to help keep their property safe.”

The Alberta RCMP offers the following tips for vehicle safety:

  • If you can’t park in a garage or driveway, ensure that you’re parking in a visible well-lit area.
  • Visible anti-theft devices like steering wheel locks can help mitigate vehicle thefts and break-ins.
  • If possible, look into automatic car starters as an option to warm your vehicle.
  • Never leave your vehicle unattended if the keys are in it.
  • Always lock your vehicle's doors even if you’re parked in a driveway or garage.
  • Never leave valuable items like wallets, keys, purses, or even change visible in an unoccupied vehicle.
  • Most modern engines do not require a ‘warm-up’ period. If your vehicle does need to warm up, do not leave it unattended.

The community at large is impacted by vehicle theft in addition to the owners of the vehicles themselves. Theft not only drives up insurance rates throughout the province, but it also opens the door for stolen cars to be resold or utilized for additional criminal activity.

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