Toronto, Ontario – The second annual Lock It or Lose It program has launched in Ontario, reminding drivers to take a few simple precautions to protect their vehicles and contents from theft. The program is a joint initiative of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, the Insurance Bureau of Canada and Mac’s Convenience stores.

Under the program, police officers throughout Ontario examine parked vehicles to confirm they are locked and that no valuables have been left in plain view.

“The program involves our officers placing a small notice on every vehicle checked indicating what safety precautions were neglected and offering some simple prevention tips for drivers to protect their vehicles against theft,” said Robert Herman, president of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police. “The notice also congratulates drivers who have ensured that their vehicle is secure with valuables out of sight.”

According to Richard Dubin, vice-president of the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s investigative services, auto theft costs Canadians more than $1 billion every year. In 2009 there were 108,172 vehicles stolen in Canada, with 27,175 of them in Ontario. This marks a 13 per cent reduction in the province compared with 2008.

Dubin said that about half of all stolen vehicles are used to commit another crime or are driven simply for transportation. In such cases, the thieves are usually amateurs who grab the first vehicle they can find that has been left unsecured.

The Lock It or Lose It program reminds drivers to roll up the vehicle windows, keep valuables out of sight, lock the doors, pocket the keys and never leave a vehicle unattended while it is running. Vehicles left warming up in driveways on cold mornings or outside of coffee shops, convenience stores or ATM locations are vulnerable to theft.

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