Manitoulin OPP asks motorists to ‘lock it or lose it’ this Christmas

MANITOULIN—Officers with the Manitoulin Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) will be out patrolling the downtown cores of Island communities this holiday season, reminding drivers to ‘lock it or lose it.’

Constable Al Boyd, community services officer with the Manitoulin OPP and Staff Sergeant Detachment Commander Kevin Webb explained to The Expositor that the ‘Lock it or Lose It’ campaign is in full swing and the OPP has special ‘tickets’ to serve as a friendly reminder from your local officers that vehicle doors should remain locked, keys out of the ignition (and the car) and valuables not left within plain view.

The tickets have a checklist which will be marked off as to the ‘condition of your vehicle at the time of our crime prevention inspection,’ which includes the following boxes: vehicle unlocked, vehicle unlocked with keys in view, window(s) open, valuables in plain view and vehicle locked, keys removed, windows closed and valuables out of sight – congratulations!’

The officer will then sign the ‘ticket’ with a time and date. This in no way should be confused with an actual legal document, nor are the police ‘snooping,’ the officers explain; it is simply an act of community service. A quick tug on the door handle and a peak inside at the ignition and seat is all the officers need for their reminder notice. The reverse side of the ticket provides auto theft protection tips from the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and the Insurance Bureau of Canada. (EDITOR’S NOTE: A photo posted to The Expositor’s Facebook page of Constable Boyd and Staff Sergeant Webb ‘ticketing’ an Expositor staffer’s car ignited quite a firestorm, but it should be noted that the staged photo was an over exaggeration of the actual process.)

Constable Boyd said that while Manitoulin does not have an auto theft problem, there is an issue with “crimes of opportunity.”

“If a vehicle is locked and downtown, they aren’t going to smash the window and hotwire it, but they will look to see if the keys are in the ignition and may use it for a ride,” Constable Boyd said. He noted cell phones, GPS units, purses and wallets as valuables prime for the taking.