Sheriff’s office seeks assistance in curbing auto thefts

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The Clark County Sheriff’s Office hopes to reduce the number of auto thefts in the area after seeing a rapid increase in recent years, according to a news release.

The release stated that 581 vehicles were reported stolen to the sheriff’s office in 2020, with 801 being reported the following year.

To measure how prevalent the thefts have become, the sheriff’s office stated they tracked thefts over a 19-day period in the Orchards area, where 23 vehicles were reported stolen from Jan. 1 to Jan. 19. The numbers do not include stolen vehicles reported to the Vancouver Police Department, which the release said typically covers the areas south of Fourth Plain Boulevard. Five of the stolen vehicles were left running or warming up in driveways or parking lots.

On Jan. 20, patrol deputies found 19 vehicles that were left running unattended in the Sifton and Orchards neighborhoods alone, the release stated. As a result, the deputies spoke with some of the owners to educate them on the dangers of leaving a running vehicle unattended.

The sheriff’s office said deputies are not authorized to pursue occupied stolen vehicles or use intervention techniques to recover occupied stolen vehicles. Because of that, stolen vehicles are usually not recovered unless they’re abandoned. Oftentimes the stolen vehicles are kept for extended periods of time and used to commit further crimes, the release stated.

To combat the rise in thefts, the sheriff’s office advises drivers to set their car alarms and asks people to remove their keys from the vehicle. The release stated vehicles should be kept in a garage, if possible, or be blocked in. The sheriff’s office also said criminals often roam on foot and in vehicles during the morning hours as they look for opportunities to steal vehicles. 

Anyone who thinks their vehicle has been stolen or has information regarding the location of a stolen vehicle or the suspects involved are asked to contact the Clark County Sheriff’s Office directly or by calling 311.

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