Diane Selkirk received a text from a neighbor of her condo building in Vancouver last Sunday morning, letting her know that someone had cut a hole in the parking barrier.
By the time Selkirk got off to investigate, another resident realized that his family’s bikes had been stolen from the secure bike area.
âWe started to realize this was a pretty big heist because we got into the cage of the bike and started counting the number of locks cut,â said Selkirk.
In total, Selkirk says, around seven bikes and a Vespa scooter were stolen between midnight and 5 a.m.
When she looked at the security footage, she saw the thieves had gone through a metal parking lot gate within minutes. They then cut a metal bicycle cage and the bicycle locks. The burglars left with their loot through the front door of the building.
âIt was really alarming how quickly they were able to get through the barrier to our parking lot,â she said.
“It kind of made me sick. I just thought about how easy it was and how we trick ourselves into thinking we’re safe all the time.”
“They will do whatever it takes”
Security expert Shahbaz Munshey says thefts like this are common in Metro Vancouver and have become more common during the pandemic.
Munshey, who was hired by Selkirk Condo Strata to assess building security, says many of his clients don’t realize how easy it is for thieves to break into parking lots and check out parking lots. access areas with valuables.
âA lot of these buildings are being targeted because they just aren’t secure enough,â Munshey said.
“[Thieves] are adamant and they know there is value in these buildings and they will do whatever it takes. ”
Torches, grinders and bolt cutters are some of the most common tools thieves use to gain access to parking lots, he says, all made even easier by wireless technology.
According to statistics from the Vancouver Police Department, residential break-ins have declined steadily over the past decade. In 2020, there were 27% fewer burglaries than in 2019.
In an e-mail, Const. Tania Visintin said the decrease is likely due to the increased number of people at home during the pandemic.
But Munshey, who specializes in apartment and condo buildings, says it has never been more busy in its 30 years in business than it has been during the pandemic.
âWe have been very busy for the past two years,â he said.
When Munshey consults with his clients, he usually advises them to harden target areas such as bicycle cages as much as possible and reinforce metal doors.
But Munshey says another part of his job is to educate tenants on how to protect themselves. He recommends that they keep all expensive items like expensive bikes in their suites.
His recommendations also include that condominium residents get to know their neighbors and not let anyone into the building they don’t recognize, even during the day.
âA lot of crime doesn’t just happen at night,â he said.