VICTORIA -- Police in Victoria are warning the public about a dramatic rise in break-ins at underground parkades, garages, storage spaces and construction site lockers.

Investigators say reports of such break-ins have risen 100 per cent over last year, with 414 incidents reported between Jan. 1 and Sept. 14, compared to 207 during the same time last year.

Break-ins at parkades, specifically, are up 40 per cent, police say, with 194 incidents reported this year.

"After entering an underground parkade, thieves often target storage lockers and vehicles," police said in a statement Wednesday.

"Thieves are focused on high-value items such as bicycles, tech (phones, laptops, small appliances like vacuums and electronics), as well as tools often found in sheds, outbuildings and storage lockers," according to VicPD.

Victoria police called the rise in crime "concerning," and are asking the public to protect their property by:

  • Photographing bikes, important tech and tools, and recording serial numbers and marking these items with contact information;
  • Strengthening locks and lighting on sheds and storage areas. If an item is really high-value, it may be safer inside your residence or unit;
  • Never leaving valuables inside a vehicle;
  • Making your property private with short hedges, plants, fences and lights.

Police are asking the public to report suspicious activity in underground parkades or garages by calling VicPD’s non-emergency line at 250-995-7654.