Owner’s keys were left in vehicle in half of Manitoba’s auto thefts, MPI says
Almost half of auto thefts in Manitoba are because owners left their keys in their vehicle, according to Manitoba Public Insurance.
Winnipeg police and MPI urged drivers to stop leaving keys in vehicles and pay close attention to where they leave their keys, during a news conference Tuesday after some stolen vehicles were involved in high-speed police chases that left a trail of destruction in the city in recent weeks.
Of the 3,100 vehicles stolen in Manitoba in 2018, 90 per cent of those thefts involved the use of keys. In 50 per cent of those thefts, the keys were left in the vehicle ignition or stowed somewhere else within the car, MPI spokesperson Brian Smiley said.
"When an owner leaves their keys in a running vehicle, in a downtown area, or they're hiding their keys in a vehicle, they're not fooling anybody," Smiley said.
Police spokesperson Const. Jay Murray said these cars are not simply being taken and driven around the area — they're being used in serious crimes.
"You don't have to look much farther than the carnage that semi truck caused on Friday," he said, referring to the damage left by a stolen semi truck in the West End last week.
Smiley also advised drivers to keep track of where their keys are, and not leave them unattended in public areas such as restaurants.
While the number of vehicles being stolen in Manitoba is still much lower than what it was a decade ago, when Winnipeg was known as auto theft capital of Manitoba, drivers still need to be vigilant, he said.