Abbotsford Police are urging the public to secure their garage door openers after a string of thefts in which thieves entered vehicles, then used the devices to gain entry into nearby garages.
While the tactic isn’t new, Sgt. Judy Bird said the four incidents were reported over the course of a single week represents a much-higher rate than normally seen.
Garages have been broken into using openers on Oct. 22, twice on Oct. 25, and then again on Oct. 28. Police quickly arrested a suspect in connection with the first incident, but that didn’t stop the three subsequent incidents from occurring, even as the first person was locked up.
Certain chronic offenders have their own preferred ways to conduct property crime, Bird said. But thwarting the tactic isn’t rocket science. Those pilfered garage door openers all appear to have come from unlocked vehicles parked nearby.
Locking one’s car is the first, most-obvious step. Homeowners can also stash their portable garage door openers out of sight, in a glove box – especially one that locks. Or, of course, they can be brought into one’s house.
Police have been encouraging people to develop a “9 pm routine” in which every night at that time, they ensure their vehicles and homes are locked and valuables are brought inside. Bird says officers have found the routine to be an effective way to get people thinking regularly about keeping their stuff safe, thereby deterring property crime.
Residents are also encouraged to report suspicious activities and people in their neighbourhoods, Bird said. The information is important and can help reduce crime even when those reports don’t lead directly to an arrest, she added.