Helping to stop bad guys

People have been spotted wandering through Vernon parking lots looking in car windows.

But that is a good thing.

These are not criminals looking for a quick score, but volunteer crime fighters.

Regan Borisenko, city crime prevention officer, said the RCMP volunteers patrol local parking lots on a regular basis looking for stuff that bad guys might want to steal.

Borisenko said before the volunteers look at cars, they spend some time just watching the parking lot looking for any suspicious activity.

“They are doing surveillance of the parking lots to see who is going where and whether there are people in the parking lot that are perhaps checking cars doors and looking in car windows,” said Borisenko. “Then on foot they will check all the vehicles in the parking lot to see if people have left precious items in the vehicle.”
Where they find valuables in plain sight, the volunteers will place a crime-prevention notice on the windshield advising the vehicle could be a target of thieves.

Borisenko said vehicles are checked during the day because daytime breaks are becoming more frequent.

Borisenko said there is an element in society who patrol parking lots specifically looking for stuff to steal, day or night.

“It's not just a nighttime thing anymore,” said Borisenko. “There is a group of folks that require $100 to $200 a day to feed their habit, and they don't have a job. They are going to fund their need with your stuff.

“The biggest issue here is not the guys that are going out and stealing stuff, it is people leaving stuff in their vehicles. If they would just take their possessions with them or at the very least lock them in the trunk.”

Borisenko people also leave their vehicles unlocked or windows open which is just making it easier to steal things.

Along with looking for valuables, the volunteers also check to see if the vehicle's insurance is up to date.

“We want to help mitigate some of the problems we are having by being the eyes and ears of the RCMP and educating people not be victims of crime by changing their behaviours,” said Borisenko, adding just having the volunteers in the parking lots is a deterrent because bad guys know someone is watching.

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