Fining people who don't lock doors may be necessary?
Cobourg residents who refuse to lock their vehicle doors could be facing a small fine.
The Cobourg Police Services Board is watching a pilot project in Ottawa, which is fining vehicle owners up to $25 if their car doors are found to be unlocked.
The local police force has taken an interest in the Ottawa project because of a rash of vehicle thefts in October, which saw over $10,000 in items stolen from unlocked vehicles on the Oct. 18 weekend alone.
Chief Paul Sweet has said petty thefts from vehicles has become an 'epidemic' in Cobourg, and the town could be gaining a reputation in the Greater Toronto Area as being an easy target for theft, because local residents continue to leave their vehicles unlocked, despite the fact they're full of valuables like wallets, cell phones, CDs, money and plenty of other valuable - and practically untraceable - items.
There has also been a rise in vehicle thefts from Cobourg, as people continue to leave keys dangling from the ignition, despite repeated warnings from local police about the rash of thefts.
At first blush, it seems a bit ludicrous to charge people for not locking their vehicle doors, because if people are that lazy or forgetful, well, they deserve to lose their personal items.
But when consider how many hours local police spend responding to calls, talking to victims, investigating, and, if they're lucky, making an arrest and putting the thieves through the court system, it becomes clear that these crimes are hardly petty - they cost Cobourg taxpayers a fortune in policing costs.
Completely avoidable costs, at that.
So perhaps residents of Cobourg need to remember they don't live in a small town anymore. There is a major drug problem in Cobourg, and small items you leave in your car are exactly what addicts can easily sell in order to get their next fix. And do you really need to be told to take your keys out of the ignition?
Fining people who report a theft from their unlocked car might seem like adding insult to injury, but if it gets people into the habit of locking their doors every time they park the car in their driveway, then the thieves may leave town and go pick on someone else.
It's such a simple idea, yet it's obvious many residents could use the reminder.