Thieves busy over holidays

Police reminding residents to take precautions when doing their holiday shopping

Fred Prechel

Fred Prechel

With people scrambling to prepare for the holidays, the RCMP are reminding everyone to make sure to take time for the necessary precautions so your holiday cheer isn’t ruined by criminal activity.

“Although theft occurs year-round, it is the Christmas shopping season and thefts from vehicle are expected to rise,” said Const. Kris Clark, RCMP media relations officer.

In Penticton, the Citizens on Patrol volunteers run a program called Lock Out Auto Crime with the community policing officer Jim Porteous. Volunteers patrol busy parking lots, leaving reminders on cars where they see money, valuables or packages visible.

“We haven’t been leaving notices because it has been so wet out that they just get destroyed. But they have been patrolling, looking at plates and letting their presence be known,” said Porteous. “There are so many cars that are hatchbacks and people being careless leaving cars unlocked. The other day I found a package on top of a person’s vehicle. They forgot to put it inside and I grabbed it to head back into the mall with it and a woman came out having just realized what she had done.”

Porteous said people should be extremely mindful where their children are while they are shopping. The RCMP officer said just last weekend while at a shopping centre he saw a number of people lose track of their kids.

“There is so much going on at a busy place like a shopping centre that parents have to be really mindful of where their kids are at all times, especially at this time of the year,” said Porteous. “People’s minds are other places and can lose track of what is happening around them very easily.”

Thieves often take advantage of the holiday season, and Porteous reminds people not to make it easy for them to do that. He suggests breaking down all boxes from new electronics or toys before people put their recycling out.

“Closer to Christmas we sometimes see break-ins of residences and people’s gifts might be laid out under the tree so it is pretty easy pickings for thieves. Right after Christmas people are putting their garbage out and are doing the right thing by recycling but they are broadcasting all the new toys, TVs or computers or exactly what they got for Christmas,” said Porteous.

Holiday parties will continue right through to the new year and Porteous said to make sure you know who you are inviting into your home and ensure that everyone gets home safe.

“The homeowners are responsible for their party so they are also responsible for the amount of alcohol people drink. Make sure you take the time to call a cab for guests and watch to make sure they haven’t been drinking if they are driving home,” said Porteous.

Here are a few tips to follow in order to keep the season bright:

n Don’t withdraw more money than you need when visiting ATMs. Thieves lurk in parking lots around financial institutions. Be aware of your surroundings and take note of anyone following you. If you suspect that your PIN number has been compromised, contact your financial institution immediately.

n Children should never be left unattended while shopping. If for some reason your child becomes separated from you, make sure they know what to do. Have them go to the nearest cashier to tell them they are lost.

n Don’t make it easy for pickpockets and thieves. Men should carry their wallets in their front pockets while women should carry their purses close to their body. Avoid wrapping purse straps around your body as doing so could cause injury in the event someone grabs your purse. Don’t leave your purse in a shopping cart.

n If possible, park under lighting and close to entrances. Never leave your children unattended in your vehicle and place your purchases in your trunk. Purchases visible in your back seat can be stolen by simply smashing your window. This also applies to any other item left in plain view.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The regional district’s Penticton offices. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Building and bylaw service up in 2020 for RDOS

More complaints were resolved and building permits issued in 2020 than 2019

Penticton city council heard from Dhorea Ramanula, of Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences Tuesday, Jan. 19. Ramanula’s organization has operated public washrooms in Kelowna staffed by community support workers since April, she says Penticton could benefit from a similar facility. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Penticton interested in new public washroom concept to combat vandalism

Public washrooms with on-site support staff have been operating in Kelowna since April

Aidan & Mandy will play a live-streamed show at the Venables Theatre, Saturday, Jan. 23. (Contributed photo)
Penticton’s own Aidan & Mandy in concert Saturday, Jan. 23

The live show will be streamed from Venables Theatre in Oliver

Manny Panghli is January’s Rotary Student of the Month. (Submitted)
Rotary Student of the Month a quiet and caring leader on and off-ice

Manny Panghli is January’s student of the month

The BC SPCA is adapting its fundraising after cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
BC SPCA gets creative with fundraising as pandemic continues

The non-profit’s in-person fundraising events all had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

Esa Carriere, 23, was the victim of a 2018 Canada Day homicide. (File)
Youth sentenced in Kelowna Canada Day killing

Young woman pleaded guilty to lesser assault charge, sentenced to 15-month intensive support and supervision program

A rendering of UBC’s planned downtown Kelowna campus. (Contributed)
Kelowna’s new downtown campus to help alleviate UBCO’s space crunch

The sizable development is anticipated to be completed by the fall 2024 semester

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

A petition to spare the Mount Rose Swanson area from logging later this year has eclipsed 21,000 signatures as of Jan. 20, 2021. (Rose Swanson Mountain/Facebook)
Controversial logging will cut 4% of ‘sensitive’ Armstrong forest area: Ministry

A petition to spare the Rose Swanson area from logging has eclipsed 21,000 signatures

Vernon firefighters douse a fire inside a cardboard bin behind the Shops at Polson off Highway 6 Wednesday, Jan. 20. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Dumpster fire behind Vernon shopping mall

Vernon Fire Rescue Services respond doused recycling bin fire backing onto Polson Park

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Most Read