Increase in theft, and theft from auto

Response from Sgt Mike Spencer from the RCMP on theft from auto:
Hi Ed,
Thanks for your email.  I am aware of the recent spike in the TFA (Theft From Auto) files that have occurred in the Fraser Heights area.   Over the past 7 days there have been 7 reported incidents – although 5 of those incidents happened on the same date.
I can also tell you the following:
  • 6 of the 7 incidents were involving vehicles that had been left insecure (not locked).
  • the one locked vehicle had TWO windows smashed (particularly odd that it was two if the motive was to simply commit a TFA) and the only thing stolen from this vehicle was the garage door opener.
  • of the 6 vehicles left unlocked, 5 of them either had nothing stolen, or loose change (coins) stolen from the car.
  • the 6th vehicle had a power tool stolen from it.
  • video surveillance was obtained from 3 different victims
  • video showed that at least two subjects, who appeared to be male, were walking through these neighbourhoods checking vehicle door handles on the street and in driveways.
  • video showed that whenever the suspect(s) came across a locked vehicle, they peered into the car through the window, and then moved on to the next vehicle / driveway.
  • although much of the video was of very high quality, the darkness outside did not allow for a clear image of the suspect’s face, making it virtually impossible to identify him/her/them.

Although there were 7 reports made to the police, my experience tells me that there were likely more incidents that mirrored the majority of the above – no forced entry and little or nothing stolen, which often causes people to not feel the need to report the incident.   The reality is that these suspect(s) likely checked hundreds of cars in a very short period of time – and the reality is, for the most part, there was very little ‘damage’ done given how little success the suspect(s) had – getting one power tool, some loose change, and possibly a garage door opener for their troubles.  Depending on where they originated from (which address), this lack of a big payday will hopefully make them want to take their trade elsewhere.
Our Frontline members (uniformed / marked-cars) have stepped up patrols in the Fraser Heights area – and we are also trying to identify a/the possible suspect though forensic identification from an item left behind in one of the vehicles that may have the suspect’s fingerprint on it.
Please remind everyone that BY FAR the best way to rid a neighbourhood of the people who commit these crimes is to make them unsuccessful doing them, which was mostly this past week (by all account.    Based on what the video surveillance showed us, I can say with confidence that anyone who had their vehicle locked and nothing of value visible inside their vehicle did enough to protect themselves from being victimized.
Thanks for reaching out to me Ed.  I have CC’d Sara on this email, as well as Heather Nelson and I encourage you to communicate as much as you can with other Fraser Heights residents to make sure they are aware of the issues, aware of what has worked to protect themselves, and not becoming complacent.   Furthermore, if you happen to see or hear someone walking around your neighbourhood in a suspicious manner at a suspicious time (4am for example) and are carrying a bag, or something of that nature… and you feel like it may be related to the recent vehicle break-ins your neighbourhood has experienced – please don’t hesitate to contact the Surrey RCMP at the non-emergency number (604-599-0502) to advise this.    IF you happen to see someone actively breaking into vehicles (or a house, garage, etc) please use 911.
Mike