Recently, the Cowichan Valley has seen a string of Auto Thefts, including both personal and commercial/company vehicles. It is important to stay vigilant, and to do our part to make vehicles and their contents less likely to be targeted.


Auto Crime Prevention

Being part of the Business Watch community means that your eyes and ears are always open, especially around your place of work. This means that you look out for more than just physical buildings/structures; you look out for and keep an eye on the individuals in the area & their movements (customers, employees, & strangers), and business’ property/possessions (tools, merchandise, vehicles, furniture, packages, etc.).

Part of staying vigilant against theft/crime means actively trying to model and share best practices when it comes to deterring auto crime wherever you are.

‘Lock before you walk’  

‘Lock before you walk’ is a simple reminder for vehicle owners to follow classic safety tips whenever your vehicle is parked.

Every time you park your vehicle ask yourself, did you:

  • Lock for vehicle?
  • Remove or hide valuables & belongings (smartphones, laptops, backpacks, packages, wallet, money)?
  • Ensure keys are with you and not left in vehicle?
  • Park in a well lit, high traffic area?
  • Use an immobilizer (devices such as steering wheel locks)?

“good advice never gets old” – Sergeant Bob Harris of IMPACT

‘Don’t’ leave for keys for thieves’ 

This year’s auto crime prevention theme is ‘Don’t leave your keys out for thieves’. Many newer vehicles require keys or fobs in order to steal – yet people are still leaving their fobs in their vehicles. Even if hidden, once a thief enters your vehicle fob can be used. Valet keys, house keys, and building fobs can/will be accessed if left in a vehicle, allowing thieves entrance into your home/garage, apartment building, or even your gym, workplace, or other vehicles.

  • Do not leave your vehicle unattended while its running
  • Do not leave your smart keys, valet, or emergency keys in the vehicle when it’s unoccupied
  • Invest in an anti-theft device, especially for older model vehicles

‘The 9pm routine’  

The 9pm routine is a reminder for residents to secure their valuables and lock their doors, daily by 9pm (if possible).

  • Almost 1/2 of all vehicle break ins are from unlocked vehicles
  • The overwhelming majority of break ins happen after dark

Automobile safety tips from Block Watch Society of BC  

  • Keep your spare key in your wallet (not vehicle)
  • Never leave valuables, especially visible in your vehicle – provides temptation
  • Never leave your keys unattended (ex: in a gym locker)
  • Do not leave your vehicle unattended while it warms up
  • Do not leave holder for GPS unit (or other devices) visible – alerts thieves to potential valuables stored/hidden in car (ex: glove box)
  • Install motion sensored light or light up driveway to deter potential thieves
  • Avoid parking behind fences or hedges
  • Wait for the gate to close behind you after opening an automatic gate (strata or underground parking)
  • Call the police immediately if you see a suspicious person or activity near a vehicle

Recent News

What to do with found drugs 

Several incidents of people finding discarded plastic bags with possible drug residue have been occurring across Nanaimo.

Safety Tips:

  •  Never pick up discarded drug items unless you are wearing protective gloves
  •  Place the item in a zip lock baggie then if possible, discard the item in a black or green garbage bag and tie it so that the item cannot be seen
  •  If you are using a claw or other item that may be used again, be sure to decontaminate it first
  •  Young children should be told to never touch or pick up these items and if found, tell an adult as soon as possible

Police officers do not need to attend to dispose of these items but they are available to answer any questions or concerns the public may have. It should also be noted that the recent change to the consumption and possession of small quantities of street level drugs, does not apply to school grounds and playgrounds.

Richmond RCMP warn of distraction theft scheme 

Richmond RCMP are actively investigating distraction theft technique that is being used in the community.

  • Scheme involves coordinated effort by thieves to target a victim departing a financial institution after making a cash withdrawal

  • When victim drives away, a suspect flags then down saying their vehicle is damaged in some way and/or making an unusual noise

  • Accomplice(s) then steal the victim’s purse/wallet from the vehicle while the driver is distracted and/or surveying the vehicle for damage

If you believe that you a potential target in this type of distraction scheme and it is occurring in real-time, contact the police immediately and/or drive in a safe manner directly to your local police detachment, says Corporal Dennis Hwang, Communications Officer, Richmond RCMP.

B.C. makes amendments to strata age restriction bylaws  

 BC making changes to the Strata Property Regulating which allows some buildings to require tenants be 55 years of age or older. *Effective immediately

  • This restriction was enacted in November 2022 as a way to ensure enough housing for seniors in BC

  • Side effects: prevent families from staying with current residents, restrict current residents from having future children

  • younger people who are in 55+ buildings can still choose to have a family in the future under the new amendments

Exemptions for stratas that enacted 55+ bylaws:

  • Permitting future children, dependents, spouses, adult children or former dependents, & partners of current residents to move in with current residents

“I’m relieved that the government has taken action to support families like mine and especially give back a homeowner’s right to decide if they want to start a family in the future,” said Maple Ridge resident Razan Talebian.