July 17th, 2024

Lethbridge police find 138 unattended vehicles during Cold Start campaign


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on January 13, 2024.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman A vehicle is seeing idling unattended Friday afternoon, after Lethbridge Police Service concluded their 2023 Operation Cold Start.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

Lethbridge Police Service’s Operation Cold Start concluded Friday after multiple vehicles were checked while idling unlocked across the city.

With the extremely cold temperatures that arrived this week, many drivers found themselves warming up their vehicles, not only to make sure their engines were ready to be driven, but also to have a warm vehicle to commute in.

Unfortunately, many of those vehicles were left unlocked and vulnerable to theft in different areas of the city.

Members of the Lethbridge Police Service located 138 vehicles left idling and unattended during Operation Cold Start, compared to 50 idling vehicles during the 2022 campaign, according to a release sent out Friday afternoon after the operation concluded in the morning.

The week-long initiative, organized by the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police, involved a province-wide awareness campaign aimed at preventing vehicle theft.

LPS officers patrolled different areas of the city each morning this week to check for vehicles running while unlocked and unattended.

“Police spoke to approximately two dozen drivers, reminding them to stay with their vehicle while it’s warming up or ensure it’s locked. In cases where the driver wasn’t nearby, police left a pamphlet on the vehicle highlighting theft prevention tips,” reads the release.

With more freezing temperatures forecasted within the near future, LPS is asking residents to be vigilant and proactive to prevent crime of opportunity when it comes to vehicle thefts.

Some of the steps LPS recommend residents to take include:

•Never leave a running vehicle unattended if the keys are inside.

• Use a remote starter whenever possible and keep your vehicle locked.

• If you are warming up your vehicle with the keys in the ignition or with a push button start, stay with your vehicle.

• Use a steering wheel lock as a deterrent.

• Never leave spare keys or garage door openers in or around your vehicle.

• Never leave children or pets inside a running vehicle.

• Do not leave valuables, including identity documents and bank cards, in your vehicle.

• Be aware of your surroundings and report suspicious activity to police immediately.

• If you observe a crime in progress call 911.

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