Volunteer Eliana Stepanchuk checks a car for valuable items during a Lock Out Crime operation Wednesday at the Village Green Centre in Vernon.

Volunteer Eliana Stepanchuk checks a car for valuable items during a Lock Out Crime operation Wednesday at the Village Green Centre in Vernon.

Officials target auto crime

The City of Vernon, the RCMP and ICBC are banding together to fight auto crime.

The City of Vernon, the RCMP and ICBC are banding together to fight auto crime.

Volunteers will be roaming the streets placing crime prevention notices on vehicles susceptible to theft.

“There’s been a huge spike in theft from vehicles. The message is not getting out,” said Cst. Gary McLaughlin.

Ten volunteers inspected 151 vehicles in less than an hour Wednesday, finding that 33 to 40 per cent of vehicles had valuables in sight, unlocked doors, or other problems.

They met at the Village Green Centre to show how thefts occur in high-traffic areas.

All 10 volunteers could have made off with an item, said McLaughlin.

The volunteers can be identified by their high-visibility vests. Volunteer Dwayne Sarafinchan was a victim of theft in a gated community.

“It happened between three hours in the evening, in daylight,” he said.

To prevent crime, ensure no valuables are left in plain sight and keep doors locked.