MD hosts vehicle theft prevention open house

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The MD of Bonnyville is teaching residents about theft prevention through a series of open houses.

As part of the Rural Crime Prevention program, the MD of Bonnyville held a vehicle theft prevention open house for residents.

On Thursday, Nov. 1, MD peace officer Dan Hansen went over the most commonly stolen vehicles in the area and offered tips on how to keep vehicles safe from theft.

“(The open house was) to introduce auto theft prevention tips for the municipal residents, as well as keep the conversation going with crime prevention overall with our programs that we have available,” Hansen detailed.

Always locking your vehicle, removing valuables, not leaving your car with the key inside, taking license plates off vehicles not in use, and having a GPS tracker were some of the tips Hansen shared.

Resident Beth Levesque attended the event to learn more about thefts that have been affecting the area.

“Quite of a bit (of the presentation) I knew. I’m just interested in helping out the community, and helping everybody watch what’s going on,” she expressed, noting she was going to add ‘no trespassing’ signs to her property after Hansen mentioned it during the question period.

Hansen hoped he was able to educate attendees on the subject, while showing the unfortunate realities through videos online of the ways people manage to steal vehicles.

“I think they got some information out of it. I think they’re still frustrated, which is why I’m here to try and help with that frustration,” he detailed, adding he saw how people were surprised by how easy it is to steal cars and trucks. 

Peace officer Dan Hansen discussed tips to prevent a vehicle from being stolen.

The open house allowed residents to voice their concerns about being the target of criminal activity, which Hansen hears a lot during assessments.

“A lot of it was geared more toward things we can’t necessarily talk about. I saw a lot of frustration in regards to policing and the court system… Unfortunately, as the crime prevention guy, I can’t speak for the Crown and I can’t speak for the law enforcement side. But, for the MD, we’re trying to do our best to minimize the problems or property crime in our area,” he detailed.

Tracy Kolody voiced her concerns about the criminal justice system.

“The judicial system is broken from the top. Until that gets fixed, we can do whatever we want for prevention. As a citizen, we have no rights. As a criminal, there’s lots of rights,” she said.

Hansen also discussed programs the MD offers to members of the community, including the Beaver River Crime Watch Association.

“We obviously want people to go to the Beaver River Crime Watch (social media) page, and sign up. We want them to take part so that increases our net in the MD,” he expressed, noting the more people involved could help the RCMP catch criminals faster.

Both Kolody and Levesque expressed interest in the program, wanting to do their part for the area.

Kolody said, “I might join the Rural Crime Watch… Possibly to help lessen the crime, but the criminals are just going to go through the revolving door of the courthouse.”

The MD’s Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) initiative was another program Hansen encouraged everyone to utilize.

“(We) come onto the property, and do work with the resident in providing examples on how to deter or delay any criminal activity that may occur on the property,” he noted.

Some suggestions include changing screws in doors, having proper signage on the property indicating ownership and no trespassing, along with making sure security cameras are in the right spot and there’s the right amount of lighting to identify criminals.

Two more open houses are scheduled. The next will take place on Nov. 20 in Goodridge, with another one to follow in Cherry Grove on Dec. 4.

The MD plans to host more in 2019.

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