Volunteers distributed Crime Prevention Notices to 77 vehicles Wednesday, during the Community Policing Office’s “Lock Out Auto Crime Blitz.”

The notices were placed on vehicles that appeared to be at risk of auto crime due to noticeable valuables or unlocked doors.

“The Community Policing Office is thrilled with the response from the first [blitz],” said Kelly Donaldson, community policing co-ordinator. “The volunteers engaged the community and were complimented by car owners and pedestrians alike in their efforts to prevent crime and educate the public on how to better protect themselves.”

Due to the event’s success, the CPO plans to conduct regular blitzes.

The blitz was organized in response to the high number of recent break and enters throughout the community.

The tickets aren’t fines; instead, they are a gentle reminder to residents to be careful about the belongings they leave visible in their cars.

The notices provide residents with feedback about what to remember when they leave their car.

While locking car doors may seem like an obvious prevention measure, many people leave their doors unlocked, which is an invitation to thieves.

Approximately 10 volunteers inspected vehicles in high-traffic areas such as Quilchena Avenue, areas around banks, and at City Furniture and Cooper’s Foods.

The CPO reminds people to instal antitheft devices, such as alarms and steering wheel locks.

Similar blitzes have been conducted in Kelowna, Vernon and Richmond, for example.

Merritt is experiencing a 250 per cent year-over-year hike in the number of break and enters.

Police warn people to remove valuables, and lock doors and windows.

Suspicious activity should be reported to the detachment at 250-378-4262.