Visiting a recreation centre? Police remind citizens to leave valuables at home
The Edmonton Police Service is asking citizens to leave valuables at home when visiting recreation centres, as officers continue to respond to reported locker thefts at facilities around the city.
Between April and mid-July 2015, the EPS investigated 23 reported locker thefts at recreation centres in Southwest Division. Unsecured property and unlocked lockers were targeted, along with lockers equipped with lower quality locks that are easily removed with tools.
Overall attendance at City recreation centres in south Edmonton during this period was approximately 600,000.
Property stolen from lockers typically includes mobile phones, wallets, credit cards and keys. Police believe theft in recreation centres usually occurs between 1 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Locker theft crimes are not specific to Edmonton’s southwest; officers from Southeast Division report similar trends.
“We’ve responded to 21 reports of locker theft at southeast recreation centres since May,” says Staff Sgt. Mark Cochlin. “It’s a crime of opportunity that occurs throughout the city. Citizens need to actively protect themselves.”
The City of Edmonton and the Edmonton Police Service continue to work together to counter the issue.
“The City is committed to providing safe and welcoming recreation centres and we take every instance of theft very seriously,” said Evelyn Ehrman, a director with the City’s Community and Recreation Facilities Branch. “Along with support from the Edmonton Police Service, we’ve taken steps to deter theft at our facilities, but customers still need to be aware of the risks and take care to lock their valuables, or leave them at home.”
Recent measures taken to reduce incidents of theft at facilities include a Don’t Take the Bait locker alarm pilot, the implementation of a locker room concierge program, providing free valuables lockers that are within sight of front counter staff, and looking to employees to greet and engage with customers.
Reduce the chance of locker theft with these tips:
- Do not bring unnecessary valuables, large sums of money or heirlooms to store in a locker.
- Take advantage of facility “valuables lockers” located within sight of front desk staff.
- Invest in a high quality lock and always fully engage the lock. Spin the dial of a combination lock after securing.
- Do not share your lock combination. Store extra lock keys with you or in a safe location.
- Do not record the combination on the lock or near the locker.
- Avoid sharing a locker.
- Contact police and alert recreation centre staff if you observe suspicious activity or are a victim of locker theft.