With the rash of break-ins over the past couple of months, the East Algoma Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is encouraging all residents to play their role in reducing crime. Breaking and entering is a serious crime, regardless of the value of the property stolen or destroyed.
This can lead to feelings of fear, anger and emotional distress and the OPP encourages you to consider the following list of suggestions to reduce your risk of becoming a victim:
- When you move to a new home, you should change or re-key the locks immediately.
- Always keep your front door locked.
- Keep screen doors locked whenever your main door is open.
- Never ignore a knock on the door.
- Garage doors leading directly into the house should be kept locked at all times, even when you are in the house or backyard.
- Chain locks are NOT recommended as security for doors. Instead, invest in a peephole which allows you to look out but does not allow the person to see inside.
- Limit the size of accessible window openings. If they are being used for ventilation at night – install a securable, window stop.
- Lock ladders to the house, fence or inside a shed or garage. Unlocked ladders can be used to gain entrance through a second story window.
- Be sure second story windows are closed and locked when you are not at home. Patio furniture has been used as a stepladder to gain access to upper levels of the home.
- Trim hedges below the window level to eliminate hiding spots for criminals.
- Make sure the outside lights are in good working order.
- Engrave an identifying mark on your property. This makes it easier for police to identify and harder for criminals to sell.
- Keep objects with sentimental value in a place no one would suspect when not in use.
- Take inventory of your property. Use photos or videos and/or DVDS.
- Lock your vehicles at all times, even when in the garage, so access cannot be gained by intruders. Secure bicycles by obtaining the serial numbers and or identifiers. Keep the information in a safe place.
- Keep your vehicle keys out of sight and in a location where no one would look for them.
- When new items like TVs, stereos or computer equipment are purchased, be sure to fold the cardboard box inside out before placing in the recycling. This means your new purchases won’t be advertised to anyone on the street.
- Do not feel obligated to invite a stranger into your home. Remember that someone who comes to your door to sell something or ask for donations may not always be legitimate.
- Make sure that your home always looks lived in (e.g. – newspapers/flyers picked up, grass cut, snow shovelled etc.).
- When leaving a message on your phone or answering machine, do not indicate that you are not home.
“Remember, your best defence is to present your property in such a way that it does not appeal to a possible criminal walking your street” shares Detachment Commander Yves Forget.
Any person with information regarding the person(s) that may be responsible for break and enters should immediately contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 or their nearest police authority.
Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit information online at www.tipsubmit.com where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2,000.