WEST VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – West Vancouver is being hit by a huge wave of home break-ins.

Cpl. Fred Harding says the recent statistics are shocking.

“Everything about this is unusual,” he explains. “When you’re doing 40 break-ins in the space of a month–you can imagine how dramatic of an increase that is, considering we are normally looking at 130 break-ins a year.”

He says the thieves are even using peoples’ own tools–such as ladders and garden shovels–to access second-floor balconies and pry open windows.

Harding explains in many cases the homeowners only left to do quick errands in the middle of the day.

“Maybe an hour, 45 minutes, and their home has been broken into while they’ve been out in that time frame,” he says. “None of it is common. But tragically, in the last five to six weeks, this has been a recurring theme.”

He stressed the importance of proofing your home against theft, with the following tips:

• Secure windows and doors even if your home is empty for a very short time.
• Set the alarm as a habit
• Secure ladders and tools out of sight.
• Notify your neighbours if you go away. Alternatively find a trustworthy house-sitter.
• Do not hesitate to report anything suspicious to the police. Never assume your information is already known or insignificant, it could be critical to the arrest of a repeat offender.