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Operation lock-up hits Williams Lake

Frank Rohls (left) tries out the free steering wheel lock he receives from Williams Lake community policing volunteer Bob McIntosh during the launch of Operation Lock Up Tuesday. - Monica Lamb-Yorski photo
Frank Rohls (left) tries out the free steering wheel lock he receives from Williams Lake community policing volunteer Bob McIntosh during the launch of Operation Lock Up Tuesday.
— image credit: Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Free steering wheel locking devices are up for grabs for Williams Lake residents until March 7 while supplies last.

Thanks to Operation Lock Up — a collaboration with ICBC, the Williams Lake RCMP and community policing —  the devices will be distributed to 207 owners of pre-2008 Chevrolet, Dodge, GMC and Ford pickup trucks on a first come first serve basis.

“We are trying to reduce our auto crime in Williams Lake,” said community policing president Andy Sullivan during a press conference Tuesday.

“We have quite a bit of auto theft, mainly pickups.”

People interested in the program will need to bring their vehicle registration to the community policing office at 327 Oliver Street or to the RCMP detachment at 575 Borland Street, Sullivan added.

Community policing crime prevention volunteers will also walk the streets looking for high-risk vehicles and place vouchers on dashes.

Insp. Warren Brown said there was a rise in auto theft in 2013, compared to the three previous years, mostly due to a small group of people responsible for targeting vehicles.

“The more we can do to limit opportunities the farther ahead we are,” Brown said.

When contacted by the RCMP about any suitable programs to help prevent auto theft, ICBC road safety co-ordinator Diana Pozer suggested the steering wheel locks.

“If people are going to be looking for a vehicle to steal they’ll bypass one that has a steering wheel lock on it to get to the next,” Pozer said. “Speed is of the essence for car thieves. They’re not going to take time to try and get the device off when there’s a vehicle next to it that’s not immobilized.”

Community policing’s Bob McIntosh is encouraging people to take advantage of the program.

“It’s free,” he said.

 

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