Bait sleds hidden around the interior
With 55 snowmobile clubs and 3000 kilometres of groomed trails for sledding, the south east district of British Columbia is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
However anytime expensive vehicles or devices are brought out to play a risk is run for thieves to ruin the fun, which is why the RCMP, since 2008, have initiated the bait sled program.
Cpl. Thomas Blankey of the Revelstoke RCMP says there is a GPS monitoring device inside the sleds that can track the vehicle if it is stolen.
"When looking at the last year, there are about 365 snowmobiles that are on our CPIC (Canadian Police Information Centre) program as outstanding stolen snowmobiles. So it is an effective program, we are just increasing the amount (sic) of sleds that we have now throughout the province."
Unlike the bait car program that was started in 2004 bait sleds are mostly placed in the interior and the north of the province over the lower mainland where theft of a snowmobile is rare.
This year the RCMP has invested into the IMPACT (Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team) program and purchased several new higher end snowmobiles priced upward of $13,000 making the winter recreational vehicles attractive to thieves.
According to Sgt. Rayburn Ross of the IMPACT program so far this year there have been 60 arrests with the bait car program.
"That is for theft of and theft from (a bait vehicle)."
With the sled season underway RCMP will be conducting traffic stops near frequented sledding areas in the interior to check vehicles for proper registration of their snowmobiles.
Both Blakney and Sgt. Dave Dubnyk of the Sicamous RCMP patrol areas with numerous sledders and snowmobile clubs.
Dubnyk says those who are coming through their communities on vacation and are wanting to go sledding shouldn't see the vehicle checks as an inconvenience but as a necessity to stop thieves.
"We are stopping for a reason and we are going to be checking you and checking your sleds and making sure everything jives."
Police have some tips to keep your sled safe this winter:
- Park your sled in well lit areas, especially at night or at a motel
- Take keys out of sled while parked, or in a trailer
- Mark you sled with an identifier other than the VIN. Be sure to let police know what that identifier is.
- Disable your towing vehicles while parked and at night
- Secure sled to vehicle or trailer while parked
If you witness a crime in progress such as a theft of a snowmobile call crime stoppers where you can report anonymously at www. crimestoppers.net
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