With last week and weekend supplying temperatures near -50, Airdrie RCMP participated in the Alberta RCMP initiative, Operation Cold Start.

Operation Cold Start is designed to work with the public to reduce the theft of idling vehicles during the winter months.

Law enforcement agencies performed a variety of tasks to help keep vehicles safe. They checked on unattended, idling vehicles to see if the keys were in them, and whether or not they were properly secured. 

Jennifer Weedmark, a Constable with the Airdrie RCMP Community Resource Unit talked about how the operation went and that they were checking vehicles from Wednesday the 10th through the 14th.

"Everybody that we met, was super cooperative and thankful that we were out there. They agreed with how easy it was to have vehicles taken."

While the numbers are not official, Weedmark stated they checked around 100 vehicles and around 30 were left unattended that could have been stolen.

If your vehicle was checked and the door was unlocked, the RCMP would have left a note stating it is important to have your vehicle locked while it is warming up.

"When I went out myself with a couple of partners, we located between three and five vehicles with keys in the ignition, the cars running and doors unlocked per hour."

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.

"We see an increased amount of vehicle thefts every year in cold weather," stated Weedmark

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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