October 23rd, 2020

Vehicle thefts declining in city

By Kalinowski, Tim on November 28, 2019.

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald


Vehicle thefts in Lethbridge are decreasing, and have been decreasing over the past three years.

That detail was included in a report Insp. Jason Walper of the Lethbridge Police Service made on the stolen-vehicle issue during Wednesday’s police commission meeting.

And further, reported Walper, about 92 per cent of vehicles stolen within the city were recovered in 2018 and 2019. That’s up from an 89 per cent recovery rate recorded in 2017.

“The frequency of stolen vehicles over the past three years has actually decreased, which is good news,” confirmed Walper. “The majority of vehicles, over 50 per cent of the vehicles stolen in Lethbridge, are typically stolen because the keys are left in the ignition or vehicles are left running, and they are used for joy-riding purposes and later recovered within the city.

“Our statistics show 72 per cent of vehicles stolen within Lethbridge are recovered within Lethbridge.”

Walper went on to state vehicle theft suspects are identified in 45 per cent of cases, but charges are only laid 31 per cent of the time.

“That number can be attributed to many different reasons,” said Walper. “First of all, lack of evidence to support a charge. And second of all, many times the victim or complainant when the vehicle is recovered, even though a suspect has been identified, decide not to go through with the charges because they may know that person.”

Mayor Chris Spearman, who serves as one of two council representatives on the police commission, said he was “shocked” by the fact that vehicle thefts don’t seem to be directly related to drug crime as many on social media suggest.

“As we know, the drug rate has gone up, but actually car thefts have gone down,” he stated. “Based on what you see on social media about vehicle thefts- this is the opposite of what we’re seeing (claimed) on social media.”

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