Ottawans are so captivated by the heat, their common sense is going out the window — of their unlocked cars.
Police are seeing a rise in vehicle break-ins due to easy access and valuables left in plain sight.
“It’s the increase in opportunity,” said Const. Marc Soucy.
“We may see the same spike around Christmas time.”
The first items to go are loose change and electronics, such as cell phones, MP3 players, and GPS devices.
“Now if you leave your wallet in there, that’s gone, too,” said Soucy.
There’s no specific area of the city that’s being targeted.
“It’s across the board,” he said.
“It’s a crime of opportunity, so they may today walk around Place D’Orleans and tomorrow they’ll be doing the same thing at Bayshore.”
On average, break-ins are occuring daily.
“We may get 10 in one night and the next night not get any,” said Soucy.
“It’s cyclical and it moves from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.”
Thieves are busting in at different times of day, depending on location.
“Every call I do is for people breaking into cars at night,” a patrol officer told the Sun.
“It’s always young kids walking at 12 a.m., 1 a.m., and they get bored or they’re drunk and they check cars.”
In the central district, break-ins appear to be taking place when the sun is shining.
Overall, “the increase is dramatic on weekends,” said an officer, adding people don’t realize they’ve been robbed until the next day.
“It’s not poor neighbourhoods. The majority of it is in higher end neighbourhoods.”
Police are offering tips for residents.
“One thing we like to remind people is do not leave anything in your car that confirms your address,” said Soucy.
“If you’re parked at the Park & Ride at 7 a.m., and I see you park, I know you’re probably gone ’til 5 p.m… so I’ve got all day to go break into your house.”
Documents such as ownership are generally placed in the glove box.
“I advise not to leave them in there. Keep them in your wallet,” Soucy said.
While it may sound crude, “make your car less appealing than your neighbour’s car,” said Soucy.
“If your windows are shut, your doors are locked, and I can’t see any valuables in your car, am I going to take the time and break into the car? Probably not.”