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A female RCMP officer faces two computer screens.

Routine reminders help prevent theft

RCMP in Nova Scotia post daily 9 p.m. routine reminders on social media. Credit: Kayla Rees, RCMP


A little reminder can go a long way.

That's why some RCMP offices have adopted the 9 p.m. Routine, a social media campaign reminding residents to lock their car as night approaches.

"If you form a habit, you'll start to do it automatically," says Cpl. Jennifer Clarke, a public information officer with RCMP in Nova Scotia. "Routinely locking up your things means fewer opportunities for criminals."

Nova Scotia RCMP started the campaign last January to promote crime prevention across the province. Tweets and Facebook posts go out every day at 9 p.m. and are seen around the world.

Since its launch, the Nova Scotia 9 p.m. Routine has developed a loyal following with residents sharing photos of their pets lending a helping hand during the routine.

"It's a nice way for people to interact with police and they like to get involved," says Clarke.

RCMP in Nova Scotia have gone beyond social media, also distributing pamphlets and producing radio messages to raise awareness.

The campaign promotes small steps that can make a big difference when preventing theft.

Locking car doors, keeping valuables out of sight or bringing them inside, and leaving on an outdoor light are easy ways to reduce the risk of theft, but easy to forget after a long day.

The Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) in British Columbia, captained by RCMP Insp. Rob Vermeulen, began promoting the 9 p.m. Routine last spring as part of Auto Crime Enforcement Month.

"For us, it's all about awareness," says Vermeulen. "Keeping your vehicle safe requires a conscious effort from car owners."

When conducting its Bait Car Program, IMPACT routinely encounters people stealing from cars.

"They see things like a phone, a garage door opener or a tablet, and it's like an invitation," says Vermeulen. "Even spare change, unfortunately, can be an invitation."

Florida's Pasco County Sheriff's office launched the 9 p.m. Routine in 2017 and it's since been used by police departments across North America.

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