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Don’t rely on Batman to save Christmas 0

Chris Campbell, 24 hours

Dressed as Batman Detective Phil Ens, VPD Auto Crime Enforcement Unit, demonstrates how fast thieves can steal holiday presents from your vehicle, in a ‘smash-and-grab’ news conference in Vancouver, Tuesday Dec.4, 2012.

Dressed as Batman Detective Phil Ens, VPD Auto Crime Enforcement Unit, demonstrates how fast thieves can steal holiday presents from your vehicle, in a ‘smash-and-grab’ news conference in Vancouver, Tuesday Dec.4, 2012.

The Joker walked up to a vehicle in a parking garage Tuesday and licked his lips as he looked at the decorative packages sitting on the backseat.

“I hope this isn’t a bait car,” he said with menace, before raising a sledgehammer and smashing the window.

Before he could get away with the presents, ruining a family’s Christmas, Batman sprang into action, catching the Joker and handing him over to a Vancouver Police Department officer.

If only life were filled with such justice.

Instead of relying on Batman, the VPD is telling holiday shoppers to follow some simple tips and check out a website to choose a safer downtown parking lot.

Joker and Batman were part of an event hosted by the VPD and Canadian Direct Insurance in a Burrard Street parkade to promote their Safer Parking Initiative.

Through the initiative, 45 downtown parking lots have earned “safer parking awards” by taking extra measures to reduce crime. The lots are listed at saferparkingvancouver.com and shoppers are encouraged to check out the list before going downtown. Some report zero crime on a monthly basis.

The initiative started in 2007 and the VPD credits it with helping reduce theft-from-autos by 47 per cent.

However, there have still been 7,500 such thefts in 2012, with laptops, GPS systems, iPods, insurance papers and loose change being among the most common stolen items.

Christmas shopping adds an extra temptation to thieves.

“People get a little lazy and don’t put gifts away,” said Batman. “The majority of thefts are by opportunists looking for money for drugs.”

People are advised to not drop off items to their vehicle during a shopping trip. The VPD also suggests locking items in the trunk and disabling the trunk latch so it can’t be opened from the inside.

 

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