CALGARY -- After releasing some startling crime data collected over the past year, Calgary police want to share an important message for all residents.

Between March 2020 and March 2021, officials say there have been 19,684 car prowlings and 4,396 break-and-enters reported to police.

A large number of these, police say, could have been prevented if vehicle and homeowners remembered to lock up.

"With warmer weather comes crimes of opportunity," said Sgt. Nick Wilsher of the Calgary Police Service's crime prevention team in a release.

"It's easy to leave windows open when it gets hot out or leave valuable items in our backyards or in our cars overnight. There are simple steps we can all take to minimize the opportunity for thieves and other offenders to commit certain crimes."

In order to remember to secure vehicles and homes, police advise residents to adopt the "9 p.m. Routine," a campaign that first began in Pasco County, Fla.

"Car prowlers usually count on crimes of opportunity and will repeatedly check car doors in parkades, parking lots and on streets for ones that are unlocked, especially if there's valuable items in plain view," Wilsher said.

So, police suggest that all residents, at approximately 9 p.m., run through a checklist of procedures to make sure they don't become a victim.

The routine recommends:

  • Making sure all valuables are removed from vehicles
  • Ensuring vehicles are locked, windows are closed and, if possible, parked in a garage
  • Closing and securing garage doors and windows
  • Locking all doors, including those inside the garage that lead into the house
  • Turning on your exterior light

Police also encourage anyone who is a victim of a car prowling, break-and-enter or other crime to come forward and report the details to them.

It's important not to be embarrassed by the incident, because important evidence collected at the scene could greatly assist investigators.

Citizens can report crimes to the Calgary Police Service at 403-266-1234. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers through either of the following methods:

TALK: 1-800-222-8477