Are you one of the many drivers who keeps a spare key to your vehicle inside your vehicle, possibly in the console between the front seats?
If you answered “yes”, then North Vancouver RCMP suggest that you stop reading this article right now, go out to your car, remove that spare key, and then be sure to lock your car when you’re done.
It’s a simple request, and the RCMP have the stats to back it up. In the past month, the North Van RCMP detachment has received 24 reports of stolen cars, and the investigations revealed some interesting facts.
In 17 of the 24 cases (around 70 per cent) the vehicle was left unlocked. In 12 of those 24 cases (50 per cent), a spare key was stored somewhere in or on the vehicle. And in seven of those 12 cases — more than one-quarter of the total cases — that spare key was in an extremely obvious place: the centre console.
“It’s like putting a spare house key under the front mat, or putting your wallet in your shoe at the beach while you go for a swim,” says Sgt. Peter DeVries, Media Relations Officer for the North Vancouver RCMP.
“Classic Family Feud questions. The ‘survey says’ those are the first places a thief is going to look.”
The detachment is working with ICBC to remind people to create a habit of removing valuables from vehicles, including spare keys, and locking up their vehicles when it’s not in use. However, some people are still not getting the message, and the past month’s stats leave police wondering why.
“There is absolutely no reason to store a spare key in the centre console,” says DeVries. “How will that help you if you get locked out of your car?”
He also notes that just because an item is out of sight doesn’t mean thieves won’t suspect there are valuables somewhere in the vehicle.
“Everyone knows about flipping down the front visor. Everyone knows about the magnetic key holder under the bumper.
“And everyone knows about the centre console. The centre console is a car’s proverbial cookie jar.”