Orillia, Ontario – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) are teaming up to remind drivers to “Lock It or Lose It” as they flock to shopping centres and holiday parties.

“A professional can steal your vehicle in just 30 seconds, without the key,” said Inspector Mark Allen of the OPP Crime Prevention Section. “The goal of the Lock It or Lose It crime prevention program is to encourage drivers to take a few simple precautions that will help protect their vehicles and contents from theft.”

During December, OPP officers and community volunteers across the province will be checking vehicles in mall parking lots to see if shoppers are following some simple rules: don’t leave valuables in plain view, always lock your car, protect your keys, don’t leave the engine running unattended, and don’t hide spare keys where you think thieves can’t find them, because they can. Drivers who don’t follow the rules may find a Lock It or Lose It notice under the windshield wiper, reminding them to better secure the vehicle next time.

IBC said that in 2007, there were 146,142 vehicles stolen in Canada, and that auto theft costs Canadians more than $1 billion annually.

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