MPI: Nearly 90 per cent of all vehicle thefts involve the use of keys

Just last month in Portage la Prairie a stolen car crashed into a parked Jeep when the thief failed to negotiate a slippery turn. Brian Oliver/Graphic Leader

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The majority of auto thefts in the province are preventable as nearly 90 per cent of stolen vehicles in the province involved the use of keys, according to Manitoba Public Insurance.

With the holiday season and colder temperatures now upon us, many vehicle owners may be tempted to leave their vehicles unattended while warming up, or while running in and out of stores while shopping.

“Stolen vehicles are typically driven erratically and dangerously, putting innocent people at risk,” said Satvir Jatana, vice-president, employee and community engagement, MPI. “The data clearly shows that the majority of auto thefts could be prevented if owners protected their keys.

On average, auto theft costs MPI and its ratepayers about $10 million yearly.

“Auto theft is a crime of opportunity. Leaving keys in the ignition is no longer an acceptable practice. A running, unattended vehicle is an open invitation to an auto thief,” Jatana adds.“Take away the opportunity and we can all do our part in reducing crime.”

MPI data reported the following between the years 2016 to 2019:

  • 70 per cent of stolen vehicles were taken in Winnipeg
  • 40  per cent of stolen vehicles had keys in the vehicle (either in the ignition, or within the passenger compartment)
  • 12 per cent of thefts were attributed to lost or missing keys
  • 21 per cent of thefts were attributed to stolen keys stolen (from a residence/jacket/purse)

Treat your car keys the same way you treat your cell phone or wallet:

  • Never leave your vehicle unlocked, unattended or running (even if it’s just for five minutes!)
  • Don’t leave your keys in your vehicle
  • Always remember to lock your vehicle
  • Park your vehicle in a well-lit area
  • Avoid hanging your keys by the door – put them in a safe, out-of-sight place

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