POLICE BEAT: Vehicle break-ins have come to an inexplicable end

Erin Perkins
By Erin Perkins
January 7th, 2013

A nearly three month-long rash of vehicle break-ins has come to an end, at least for now.

While Grand Forks RCMP have not caught the culprit or culprits who are responsible for the numerous complaints of items missing from unlocked vehicles since late October, they’ve received no new complaints over the past week , said Grand Forks RCMP staff sergeant Jim Harrison.

The problem began on the week of Oct. 22 when Grand Forks RCMP responded to a number of complaints about items like cameras, wallets, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), cash, passports and banking information from registration papers contained with glove boxes that were disappearing from local vehicles. At first the thief or thieves were only entering unlocked vehicles found parked along city streets. That soon progressed to unlocked vehicles parked in carports and driveways.

“Normally petty crime is a matter of opportunity and the criminal takes advantage of that opportunity,” said Harrison.

Locking your vehicle is a very effective deterrent with this kind of activity, said Harrison.

“Most petty criminals won’t go to the trouble of breaking into a locked vehicle.  Criminals don’t like noise and they don’t like light. They don’t want to be seen and they don’t want to be heard.”

In all of the cases reported between Oct. 22 and Christmas, the vehicle was unlocked.

In terms of insurance, the theft, usually of only a few dollars, wasn’t worth the insurance claim deductible, said Harrison. He said it is hard to say whether petty vehicle thefts like the ones experienced in Grand Forks will lead to other crimes.

“It’s a crime of opportunity,” said Harrison. “They walk down the road, see something they want inside of a vehicle and try the door. (If it’s locked) most will move onto the next vehicle.”

The streets where the vehicles that were broken into were parked on or at a residence included 2nd Street, 4th Street, 5th Street, 11th Street,  18th Street, 64th Street, 75th Avenue, Como Street, Kettle Valley Road, Central Avenue and Riverside Drive.

Kamloops woman charged with drinking in public over holidays

A 19 year-old woman from Kamloops was charged with consuming liquor in a public place after Grand Forks RCMP found her walking down Central Avenue in Grand Forks over the holidays.

The woman had left a home on Central Avenue on Saturday, Dec. 29 at 2:45 a.m. and was found walking west along the road while drinking a beer, said Harrison.

False 911 calls on the decline

Grand Forks RCMP responded to 44 fewer false 911 calls in 2012 compared to 2011, said Harrison.

In 2012 police responded to 255 false 911 calls, down from the 299 in 2011. While the numbers are down, 255 calls is still a lot of wasted time, said Harrison.

“(False calls) eat up a lot of our time,” said Harrison.

False 911 calls are often made by accident from a phone that has a preset on speed dial or when a cell phone is pressed against in someone’s pocket. Police are required to respond to every call.

RCMP also responded to 155 animal related complaints in 2012. Most of those were for deer that had been injured in a vehicle accident and have to be put down, said Harrison. While there is a conservation officer based in Grand Forks, he covers a vast area and can’t always respond to those calls.

The other common animal complaint was for dog related issues, many of which are dealt with by the Regional District Kootenay Boundary Animal Control Officer, Richard Smith. Those that Smith can’t get to the police often address.

Categories: CrimeGeneral