With a warm weekend around the corner, Vancouver police are warning of an increase in thefts from garages.
Starting around the end of March, the Vancouver Police Department started noticing a significant increase in these types of residential burglaries around the city. There have been 43 garage thefts this year, with 22 of them occurring in April, according to data provided by police.
The thefts are mainly happening to garages with open or unlocked doors, department spokeswoman Kim Kapp said.
“This is an invitation for theft and is easily preventable,” Kapp said.
Single-family homes and apartment complex garages are the most commonly targeted locations, according to police. Thieves are most likely to enter through unsecured doors and are not forcing their way into homes.
Thirty-seven of the thefts have happened because of unlocked doors. All but two of those thefts were attributed to rolled-up garage doors. In five of the thefts, burglars entered through a side door to a garage. The three remaining methods of entry were reported as “other” by police.
A total of 15 vehicles have been broken into, which resulted in two car thefts. There are also 15 reports of tools and lawn equipment being stolen, and six bicycle thefts.
On April 29, a resident who was having work done on his house left his garage door open for two days while workers were there. Once the work was finished, he did an inventory of everything in his garage and found multiple tools were missing, along with two bicycles.
Five days earlier, police took a report from a homeowner who said someone came in through the unlocked, side-access door to their garage, rifled through their vehicle and stole a purse containing credit cards. The victim’s credit cards were fraudulently used shortly thereafter.
Another homeowner reported to police that a burglar entered their unsecured garage sometime between April 12 and 17 and took off with two expensive, commercial weed trimmers along with other items.
Around 3 a.m. April 14, someone opened an unsecured garage door, which was partially closed on top of a vehicle, and then stole a wallet and spare key to the vehicle.
Kapp said police are asking city residents to keep their garage doors locked and closed if they cannot be at home to keep an eye on things.
More warm-weather crime prevention tips can be found on the city’s website.