Spike in theft leads to BPS’s ‘Lock it up’ campaign

With most property crimes occurring under cover of night, the Brandon Police Service is hoping an online public awareness campaign will help stem an increase in thefts in the city.

An increase in theft and other criminal activities from last year has moved the Brandon Police Service to tell city residents to, “LOCK IT UP.”

As of Nov. 1, the local police department has been using their social media accounts to remind property owners to secure their vehicles, sheds, garages and homes and protect their possessions. The social media posts contain an image of a padlock with the words, “It’s 9 O’clock – LOCK IT UP.”

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“It’s a program that’s recognized throughout the United States and Canada,” said BPS Constable Grant McKay. “We know we’ve got a bit of a problem with a few break and enters with garages, sheds and vehicles and we thought we’d put something out for people in the community to be aware of and for safety’s sake.”

Besides locking up sheds, garages and vehicles, police also want to promote the habit of ensuring other items of value, such as bicycles, are stored inside an outbuilding or padlocked to an immovable object.

Statistics acquired by BPS have shown a spike in activity relating to property crime between the months of January and October when compared to 2017. These activities include mischief, break and enters, and thefts of vehicles or valuables found inside of them.

Theft was up about 24 per cent from 2017 with an extra 285 incidents reported this year. A total of 1193 cases were reported last year compared to 1478 in 2018. Meanwhile, all property crime rose 16.5 per cent with 2689 incidents reported last year and 3134 reported in 2018.

“If we don’t know what’s happening in your area, there’s not a lot we can do about it. Call us about it regardless.” – BPS Cst. Grant McKay

“Sometimes when you have an increase in break and enters and thefts, it’s somebody travelling through the city. Sometimes it’s someone who gets out of jail and gets back to their old tactics,” McKay said.

“Then, with the meth situation right now – which is not just being seen in Brandon but throughout the country – you’re going to have users involved in these activities. Addicts need to fill the gap and to pay for that, some are doing thefts to find stuff and pawn it off to buy their meth.”

McKay suggested that residents report anything that goes missing from their properties regardless of its value. Police can then determine where problem areas are located in the city and connect incidents with suspects if the items are found. This includes bicycles, lawn ornaments, Christmas lights or any other items that may be found outside of homes.

“If we don’t know what’s happening in your area, there’s not a lot we can do about it,” McKay said. “Call us about it regardless.”

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