Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Victoria, BC – Officers are warning the public after a 100 percent increase in break and enters to underground parkades, detached sheds, garages, and constructions site storage lockers.

For the time period of January 1st to September 14th 2019 there were 207 break and enters to these locations. For the same time period in 2020 there have been 414 break and enters.

Specifically, break and enters to underground parkades have risen 40 percent. For the time period of January 1st to September 14th 2019 there were 137 underground parkade break and enters. For the same time period in 2020 there have been 194 underground parkade break and enters. After entering an underground parkade, thieves often target storage lockers and vehicles.

Thieves are focussed on high value items such as bicycles, tech (phones, laptops, small appliances like vacuums and electronics) as well as tools often found in sheds, outbuildings and storage lockers.

While the 100 percent increase in these break and enters is concerning, there are key steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your property.

  1. Photograph bikes, important tech and tools, and record serial numbers. Email them to yourself to make for an easy to find record in the event they are stolen. Marking these items with contact information also makes it easy for officers to reach you when they recover your stolen property.
  2. Strengthen locks and lighting on sheds and storage areas. If an item is really high value, it may be safer inside your residence or unit.
  3. Never leave valuables inside a vehicle.
  4. Make your property friendly but clearly private with short hedges, plants, fences and lights.
  5. If you see someone suspicious in your underground parkade, call VicPD’s non-emergency line at 250-995-7654, extension 1.

What to do if you are the victim of a break and enter

In the event that someone does enter your property, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. For incidents where you don’t have any suspect information like surveillance images or a description, you can even report the incident through our online reporting service, or by using our VicPD Connect App. Reporting these incidents helps us identify trends, target prolific offenders, link incidents, return recovered stolen property and proactively deploy officers to your neighbourhood. You can report a crime online here. You can download our VicPD Connect App here.

How to make your property less attractive to property thieves without turning it into a fortress

You can help make your property less attractive to property thieves by creating clear demarcations of public and non-public areas. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a comprehensive, practical approach to crime prevention. The implementation of key CPTED principles addresses the areas of residences usually targeted by criminals. By making simple physical changes to the environment around your residence, you can drastically reduce or eliminate criminal behaviour. These changes reduce your chances of becoming a victim of crime.

Activating the power of your VicPD Block Watch Community

VicPD’s Block Watch network is a powerful community of neighbours helping neighbours. There’s a strong, proud tradition of VicPD Block Watch participants looking out for each other particularly in Esquimalt and many neighbourhoods in Victoria. Households, apartments or condominiums on a block form a communication chain aided by a map of names, telephone numbers and addresses. Participants watch out for each others’ homes and report suspicious activities to the police and each other. This communication is crucial in reducing the likelihood of residential crime. Joining a VicPD Block Watch is free and takes only a few minutes You can learn more about joining a VicPD Block Watch in your neighbourhood here.