Alberta RCMP And Law Enforcement Partners Launch Operation Cold Start

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As the temperatures drop and the snow starts to fall, the Alberta RCMP will once again be partnering with law enforcement partners across the province for Operation Cold Start from Jan. 8 – 12, 2024. Operation Cold Start is designed to work with the public to reduce the theft of idling vehicles during the winter months.

Law enforcement agencies will be performing a variety of tasks to help keep vehicles safe. They will be checking on unattended, idling vehicles to see if the keys are in them, and whether or not they are properly secured. Officers will also be participating in educational efforts to teach the public ways to keep their property safe.

“Warming up your vehicle briefly before your commute might seem convenient, but this convenience can turn into a serious problem when your vehicle is stolen. Vehicle-related crimes often occur due to opportunistic situations,” says Cpl. Mike Fulton of the Alberta RCMP’s Community Safety and Well-being Branch. “In 2021, 8.3% of vehicles stolen in Alberta RCMP jurisdiction were left idling. The goal of Operation Cold Start is to reduce crime by educating Albertans on steps they can take to help keep their property safe.”

Vehicle theft doesn’t only affect vehicle owners; it has an impact on the greater community. Not only do thefts increase the cost of insurance across the province, but stolen vehicles can also be used for further crime, or even be put back on the market and sold to unsuspecting Albertans.

The Alberta RCMP offers the following tips for vehicle safety:

- If you can’t park in a garage or driveway, ensure that you’re parking in a visible well lit area.

- Visible anti-theft devices like steering wheel locks can help mitigate vehicle thefts and break-ins.

- If possible, look into automatic car starters as an option to warm your vehicle.

- Never leave your vehicle unattended if the keys are in it.

- Always lock your vehicles doors even if you’re parked in a drive way or garage.

- Never leave valuable items like wallets, keys, purses, or even change visible in an unoccupied vehicle.

- Most modern engines do not require a ‘warm-up’ period. If your vehicle does need to warm-up, do not leave it unattended.