EDITORIAL: Don’t fall victim to summertime carelessness

Property crime typically takes an uptick in the summer, so it's important to stay attentive.

It’s so easy to become inattentive in summer.

Blazing sun and hot temperatures seem guaranteed to put the more vigilant parts of our brains on hold.

Whether we’re just befuddled trying to beat the heat – or eager to get out and be part of the many fun activities that warm weather offers, particularly in our seaside community – distraction is at an all-time high this time of year.

Unfortunately, as recent crime statistics show, there are those who are more than ready to take full advantage of any lapse of attention on our part.

Quoted in a story in today’s edition, White Rock RCMP Const. Deryk Roberts warns that property crime usually takes an upturn in summer.

Is there any wonder at it?

The natural impetus is to leave home windows open to catch any breeze, and as we stroll in and out, we are likely to be less attentive to locking doors, or even closing them – an open invitation to an uninvited visitor who won’t hesitate in taking an inventory of our personal belongings, and making off with the most portable of them.

While loading vehicles, we’ll often leave costly cameras and sports equipment sitting outside, a crime of opportunity just waiting to happen.

But it’s not just theft of valuables we have to worry about – offenders are also after mail and anything else they can leverage for subsequent, often very costly, identity theft.

And once we get in those vehicles – and get out again at our destination – are we really sure that we locked all of the doors and closed all of the windows? Did we lock valuables out of sight in the trunk – or did we leave them in plain view?

Insp. Peter Jadis, officer in charge of the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team, notes that car thefts leapt 29 per cent across B.C. last year.

He warns that it’s not just carelessly displayed items or the vehicles themselves that criminals are after – a garage door-opener and an address from insurance documents could be the key to a much higher payoff for a criminal, but one that poses a greater potential risk to ourselves and our families.

Our vigilance must also extend to our families – children, caught up in the excitement of the moment, are not likely to pay close attention to closing or locking doors after them.

But, in reality, in this day and age, any one of us could be responsible for a lapse that could mar our summer – and end up having to pay a hefty price in property loss and insurance hassles.

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