A person pushing a gas lawnmower across a bright green lawn

A well-kept property and reduced crime

There was an interesting online article about how well-kept properties could reduce crime in a neighbourhood. However it didn’t explain how healthy mowed lawns and planting trees reduced crime. I decided to do some added research to see how it tied together in creating safer communities.

There were some obvious advantages outlined on how landscaping of a yard can deter crime.  For instance, large bushes or trees that block windows and entryways can provide privacy for someone to hide and possibly gain access to you home. A simple solution was to trim trees so that low hanging branches don’t obstruct a window, door or walkway. Trimming bushes under a window was also suggested along with considering planting a thorny-bush.  Additional ways to use landscaping to make a property a harder target were also suggested. Many of which were familiar as they are part of the well-known practice of (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED pronounced sep-ted).  That seemed straight forward, but what about mowing a lawn?  How does that deter crime?

That question brought me to a point where four fairly well-known ideas and people seemed to converge: CPTED, Neighbourhood Watch, the broken windows hypothesis and Jane Jacob (namesake for Jane’s Walk).

Basically the idea can be explained as this; people show they care about their property by (you guessed it) caring for their property.  People that care about their property are more likely to pay attention and care about what happens on their street.  That tied-in with Jane Jacob’s concept of “Eyes on the Street” which indicates that well-kept properties encourage people to spend time outside which lends to the practice of informal surveillance. That made perfect sense. People are outside both tending and enjoying to their yards & homes. While being outside people are providing that informal surveillance. This fits perfectly with ENW’s program goals in which we encourage residents to practice what the Neighbourhood Watch signs say “we report suspicious activities to police”.  However, that brought up the question whether this would still apply when residents were not physically in their yards? Can a care-for appearance make a difference in crime prevention?  In the article “The relationship between residential yard management and neighborhood crime” done in Baltimore it referenced a growing amount of literature that suggests well-kept properties are “cues to care”. That theory can be seen as an inverse to the well-known crime theory of the “broken window”. The broken windows hypothesis suggests that if a neighbourhood is uncared for, in disrepair with “broken windows”, and it remains that way, it indicates that the people in the neighbourhood don’t care.  It suggests that criminals look for areas to target based on the level of neglect.  If true, the inverse suggests that when people take care of their property it shows an increased level of involvement and awareness.  People living in properties that are well-kept are more likely to be watching out for their property and their neighbourhood.  The article suggests:

  • “The level of maintenance of the yard is almost like a neighborhood watch sign saying, ‘We have eyes on the street and we will say something.’”
  • “The most powerful indicators of a decrease in crime were having a lawn, the presence of garden hoses or sprinklers, shrubs, tree cover, percentage of pervious area, and the presence of yard trees.”
  • “The factors most strongly tied to more crime were the number of small street trees, litter, uncut lawn, and a dried out lawn.”

Research does indicate that residents can help reduce crime by taking care of their yards (including mowing their lawn) and being visible in their neighbourhood.

Until next time…
Debbie Sellers, ENW

Edmonton Neighbourhood Watch (ENW) is a not-for-profit, charitable, volunteer passive crime prevention organization.

A. Troy et al. / Landscape and Urban Planning 147 (2016) 78–87. The relationship between residential yard management and neighborhood crime: An analysis from Baltimore City and County. Retrieved from URL https://www.fs.fed.us/nrs/pubs/jrnl/2016/nrs_2016_troy_001.pdf

Fraud Prevention

Fraud can be Tough to Spot

It’s March which means it is Fraud Prevention Month. One thing that is certain, it is getting harder to identify what is real and what is a fraud or fake. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has put out a top-10 list of scams from 2016, revealing Canadians lost more than $90 million to scammers. It’s hard to image that amount of loss, but it is because the scammers are good at what they do.

With a computer, some software and a laser printer, scammers can make anything. They can be using an international call centre, or a pay-as-you-go phone. Some are charismatic and others can be intimidating, even threatening. Either way, the intent is the same. They want you believe they are something real when they are not. Here are some things to remember:

Anyone with minimal skill can make a real website for a fake business. Just because it is on the internet doesn’t make it true.

Phone numbers are easy to get. A prepaid cell phone with a local number can be purchased for under $50. Don’t fall for the ploy “call me back at this number”. They will provide you with a phone number which they will answer using whatever name they are currently using. Do your own research, go online and find the official company website or call directory assistance to verify the phone number. And if they don’t want you calling back, it’s likely not a legitimate call.

A fake business is set up easily. They make some business cards, letterhead and official-looking documents which appear to be real.

Scammers use spoofing to fool you in to believing you have been contacted by a credible company:

  • Spoofing is a fraudulent or malicious practice in which communication is sent from an unknown source disguised as a source known to the receiver.
  • Spoofing can happen on calls to your cell phone or a landline. Call display will show a credible number but that’s not who is actually calling. Spoofing can even make your own phone number appear as if you are calling yourself.
  • You can get spoofed emails which are particularly dangerous because they can contain viruses and Trojans. Those can cause significant computer damage by triggering unexpected activities, remote access, deletion of files and other issues.
  • Scammers prey on a fear of authority. Don’t simply believe the caller.
    • They will use agencies like the Canada Revenue Agency to get you off-guard. By that simple verbal identification scammers have been able to get recipients to give out their full name, address, and social insurance number. That is enough to steal an identity.
    • A current scam has a caller identifying himself as “agent” or “officer so-and-so” and he threatens that if you do not call back you will be prosecuted.
  • Never give out your credit card number. Scammers will tell you that it’s OK because you didn’t provide the security number on the back. That is not true.
  • Shred all documents that have personal information on it: bank statements, utility bills, old driver’s licences, vehicle insurance/registration, expired passports, etc.
  • Be aware that scammers use online dating to build relationships quickly and then ask for money. In 2016 the #1 scam ($17 million reported) was fraud through online dating.

Credible online resources for fraud prevention and reporting

Until next time…
Debbie Sellers, ENW

Edmonton Neighbourhood Watch (ENW) is a not-for-profit, charitable, volunteer passive crime prevention organization.

Not your Granfather's Neighbourhood Watch!

We are not your Grandfather’s Neighbourhood Watch

A number of years ago Lincoln and more recently Buick conducted ad campaigns around “not your Grandfather’s…” Those ads were developed because they had a new and modern product that was perceived by the general public as one only your Grandfather bought or drove. The campaign was very successful in showing a more modern product, which was different and one that could be appreciated by everyone, including a younger demographic.

Well… We are not your Grandfather’s Neighbourood Watch either.

Much of what a neighbourhood watch program was, or did in the past, was based on a different approach to crime prevention than we have now. It was about addressing crime WHEN it happened, patrolling neighbourhoods LOOKING for suspicious persons and engraving your valuables so that you could get them returned WHEN stolen IF recovered. There was the common perception that certain neighbours watched everything on the street including other people’s homes. They were the prying-eyes in the neighbourhood – the Mrs. Kravitz. That’s not Edmonton Neighbourhood Watch in 2017.

ENW has worked hard with help from many organizations and stakeholders like the Edmonton Police Service and the City of Edmonton to transform into a new and more modern product (like Lincoln and Buick). Although, and unfortunately, you won’t see Matthew McConaughey selling Neighbourhood Watch in a commercial. But, the transformation is similar.

There are four basics:

  1. Get to know you neighbours
  2. Be visible in your neighbourhood
  3. Create hard target neighbourhoods
  4. Report all crimes and suspicious activities to police

I would rather see my neighbours on our street instead of police patrols or citizen patrolling in vests with flashlight. There are already people walking in my neighbourhood. So walking with more than one purpose is easy. Whether you are out for an evening walk, going to the park or just to the bus stop, you can make a difference by paying attention to what belongs in your neighbourhood and reporting suspicious activities. Say hello, be observant and look out for your neighbours and neighbourhood. #walkyourblock

Education is a key component in creating safer neighbourhoods. Then number if property crimes can be reduced when residents practice good crime prevention strategies. Removing opportunities can reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim. Ask yourself, could someone “take it” easily? If so, make it harder:

  • Lock your vehicle ALWAYS and remove all visible valuables
  • Never leave a vehicle running with the keys inside
  • Do not leave valuables accessible on your property
  • Secure your home: close & lock your doors & windows

Homes left vulnerable become easy targets. Many homes left vulnerable in a neighbourhood make the entire neighbourhood an easy target and more vulnerable to repeat crimes. If you and your neighbours remove opportunities you make it harder for thieves.

And remember report, report, report! Just like your Grandfather’s Lincoln may still have a couple things the same, so does ENW. The neighbourhoods signs say “We report suspicious activities to police” which is an important practice in creating safer neighbourhoods. When you see something suspicious call the police. Whether you are out walking, coming home or become aware of something suspicious; be a good witness, observe and call the police.

Until next time…
Debbie Sellers, ENW

Edmonton Neighbourhood Watch (ENW) is a not-for-profit, charitable, volunteer passive crime prevention organization.

Neighbourhood Watch Sign

Loss of Sponsor – With Positive Outcome

The story is the same throughout Alberta… the economy… cut backs… costs more… no longer available… no longer provided. It is tough times in Alberta. For a NFP (not for profit) charity not only has ENW seen a decline in financial support but also in partnerships and sponsorships.
Early in 2016, ENW experienced this quite profoundly. Our long time partnership with AMA had come to an end. For many years AMA provided those familiar orange Neighbourhood Watch signs for communities at no cost. But because of the economic downturn AMA could no longer support the initiative. We appreciate all the years of support that AMA had provided and certainly understood their decision. It seemed the Neighbourhood Watch Sign Program was about to become another casualty of the economy.

The loss was significant to ENW as we could not afford to manufacture the signs. So, with no signs there could be no program. An initial response from some communities was to buy the signs. However, that solution didn’t fit within our mission and it would not support communities that could not afford to buy their own signs. At ENW we agreed that this was a program that we would try to save for those communities with a Neighbourhood Watch program. So, how would we find a new sponsor in this economy? What business or organization could take on that type of financial partnership? Then we realized that we would first need to look carefully at the program and how it works. What could we do better?

The signs say, “We report all suspicious activities to police”. But is that true? Do the residents in those neighbourhoods do that? Some do, but most don’t. Most neighbourhoods have had those signs for years, some for decades. Do the new residents in that area know what they mean? We heard from public consultation that some people thought those orange signs were only in “bad” neighbourhoods. We had some work to do on the “image” of those signs. The decision was to redevelop the program and address 5 key areas:

  • Find a sponsor to manufacture the signs.
  • Develop a similar program to launch in 2017.
  • Develop a program that makes the message on the sign TRUE.
  • Develop a program that identifies neighbourhoods with a Neighbourhood Watch program.
  • Provide messaging about what the signs mean.

After much hard work and a lot of meetings, I am happy to say that we are well on our way. In the fall of 2016, ENW developed a new program in consultation with The City of Edmonton Traffic Operations and with input from EPS. Traffic Operations has agreed to manufacture the signs and continue to install them as they have done in the past. ENW will handle all requests and continue to manage the program.

We are excited to announce the new program will launch in early 2017. Program information will be available on the ENW website in February.

Until next time…

Debbie Sellers, ENW

Video Intern Guest Post

As “scene” by the ENW Video Intern

As a guest writer/blogger for the ENW Dispatch I wasn’t sure where to start, but maybe an introduction is in order. I am a second-year Math honours student at the University of Alberta. These past five months I participated in a SCiP internship where I produced, casted, filmed and edited a 2-minute video explaining what ENW is, a project not as different from my degree as one may think. Before I get to my experience during the internship, I should tell the story of how I became involved with ENW.

Until 2013, after a vehicle was stolen from a house on our street, I had always thought of crime as something that could “never happen to me”. Even though it still hadn’t happened directly to me, the experience affected me deeply. My parents became involved with Neighbourhood Watch shortly after that incident and I started to volunteer a little by proof-reading documents for ENW. I became busier in 2014 when ENW began its rebuild and I edited numerous public documents; for the first time something I did was having a public impact. I became further involved, always seeking more I could do. In 2015 I attended a Strategic Planning meeting and I met many members of the Board of Directors whom I also communicated with over the course of my internship. As an inexperienced 18-year old I wasn’t sure if I had anything to offer, but the board was incredibly kind to me and encouraged me to make suggestions from my own experience, some even having large-scale impacts such as changes to the AGM. After having attended and participated in the 2014 and 2015 Volunteer Appreciations I knew it was time for my greatest challenge yet…

Enter the position of Video Intern, a SCiP Internship posted by ENW in early 2016. Having produced videos for numerous reasons personal and professional, I was immediately interested. The project seemed like a great deal of fun, and I knew I was adept enough to do it. I applied and was asked to interview. I was thrilled when shortly thereafter I was contacted to say I had received the position. Fantastic! But what exactly was it that I was supposed to do?

I received a list of “deliverables” which is basically fancy speak for what I was required to provide as per the agreement of my internship: work with the ENW team and produce a good-quality video that the organization could use. To achieve these goals, I thought of my internship as being broken down into four parts.

The first part involved producing the raw materials (i.e. script, storyboard and shot list) necessary for the video. I spent a great deal of time longer in this stage than I anticipated because it was the best time to make changes to the project (crazy ideas, brainstorm, etc.). Although the general idea for the video was conceptualized during a break between classes one Wednesday afternoon, figuring out the finer details was far more challenging. I also thought more seriously about my audience and what was important for them to see on screen; sure I knew what I wanted to say, but I had to convey my message effectively to the audience.

Next was the casting. This was the easiest stage for me; since I had conceptualized the video, I had an idea of the type of character and demeanor I would want for each part. Still, there were challenges to keep in mind. I didn’t want the truths or the myths in the video to be exclusively characterized by one type of person. I decided on a role placement that would allow the same person to act out a myth about the organization and the “new” change.

Then came the filming, the part I think everyone at the organization was looking most forward to. It was incredible to see my vision for the video come to life through our narrator, actors and several members of the community in our Block Party scene. It gave me the opportunity to meet many new people and network within the organization. It was also the stage I most enjoyed; I was happy and enthusiastic while still being efficient and focused on our goals. After experimenting with a few different sources for footage I decided to shoot the video on my mobile phone, since it gave the impromptu-vibe that was desired. Between the audio and video clips my folder of raw data has almost 250 files …yikes. Sorting through, naming and finding clips that would work (and those that wouldn’t) was a lengthy step but necessary to transition into the last part of the internship.

The final part of the video was the editing, which also took the greatest portion of time. It involved taking all the raw footage and assembling it into the best possible video. It sounds like an easy task, but with each version of each clip there were pros and cons. Other factors, such as the length of the clips and volume adjusting came into play. There were some clips which changed orders even at this late stage in the process. Overall, it was a complicated and overwhelming process! It was, however the biggest part of why I was hired; anyone can sketch a bunch of ideas down and shoot some video on their phone, but assembling it into something meaningful and useful is the hallmark of a moviemaker. This involved a fun side project; indeed, the most spirit-lifting part of the internship was putting together a blooper reel. It was a much needed reminder that although we all work hard and work together, we don’t demand perfection of each other and it’s ok to mess up every once in a while. At the end of it we ended up with a video that didn’t go exactly as any of us had perfectly conceptualized, but one which became a shared vision that I am very happy to support and claim as my work.

Even though I had shot videos before and gone through this process, I learned tons over the course of the internship about skills I can apply elsewhere. Nowhere, however did I improve (and was tested!) more than communication. As a side note, communication is paramount in the field of mathematics — from lecturing to writing research papers — it’s a cornerstone of the field as much as the perceived bizarre and perplexing language associated with it. Communication was a cornerstone of this project as well, in many ways. First, having to produce a short video re-introducing the organization, I had to communicate a message succinctly and accurately requiring a great deal of planning. Word choice was essential for maximum impact. The first three meetings had a bit of conceptual discussion as far as what type of video to produce, but the majority of the discussion concerned the script. Secondly, I had to communicate with other members of the organization, whether it be in-person to clarify points or through e-mails to schedule times for shooting. One thing I observed is that if I was not organized it was very easy to ask the same question or raise the same point several times – which I dubbed in math-speak “circular communication”. It was also common for me to question myself over menial things; in some of my first e-mails I could deliberate for up to 15 minutes over word choices. I had to remind myself what the purpose of the internships was; sure, to produce a video, but from my end it was also to learn. Lastly I had to communicate through the videography and shooting techniques, such as angle, distance and length of shots. The smallest things carry great impact when trying to establish a consistent message. All these things were crucial for me to keep in mind, consider and eventually make decisions about over the course of the past five months.

Confidence is another key skill I developed over the course of the project. I came in very confidently; within the first week, in the first 2 hours of work, I presented a bold vision of a 60 second video dispelling some common myths about the organization. Everything from the transitions to possible audio was mapped out in my mind and shortly after on paper. When I started shooting, however, I questioned myself. I thought, was I really producing the best possible video? I even thought, am I really the right person for the job? It’s not comfortable to say but I’d sooner be candid than pretentious. Although I was well prepared, I had no reference point to determine when I had achieved what I wanted; or was it fully developed? All I had was an abstract vision. My solution to this, much like my math solutions, was simple and elegant but most importantly effective. I produced two questions to keep in mind as I watched back my work in its final days; “Does it answer the question ‘What is Neighbourhood Watch?’ and ‘Does it meet the objectives for the organization?’” I was satisfied if the work I had produced answered those two questions.

Now that my internship is behind me, there are several people without whom this project would not have happened. First off, I’d like to thank everyone who acted (volunteered!) in the video; the project would literally not be possible without you. Thank you for all your hard work, all the lines you memorized and all your patience with me. I also want to thank ENW as a whole for putting their trust in me to work for them these past five months. Lastly, there’s no one who deserves more thanks than our Executive Director, who has supported me tremendously throughout the project both professionally and personally. It may not be “cool” for a university student like me to suggest I need support, but I’m not embarrassed to admit it, and I’m thankful for every time I’ve received it.

In conclusion, ENW isn’t a team of followers. Everyone pulls their weight and has to pull their weight. Everyone here is committed to our mission and our values, from the newest volunteer, to the 30+ year veteran. We demand of ourselves a high standard of work and efficiency. To some, this credo could sound harsh, but not to me; I’ve always believed that hard work and a disregard for the easily obtainable are the key to social change. That’s what make ENW so great; we don’t settle for the status quo and every day we push ourselves to be a better organization that serves the community in the most effective way. As someone entering the working world soon, for me, that isn’t the “good enough” in a workplace, that’s the ideal. So to everyone who’s been involved in this journey over the past five months, and everyone who supports our organization, thank you all so much; you truly are an amazing team and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to do my SCiP internship with. Thank you so much.

Marc Sellers, ENW Video Intern
Guest writer

Locking Your Shed Prevents Summer Theft

Summertime Crime

Crime prevention in the summer

When the weather gets nicer we spend more time outdoors. We’re in and out of the garage or shed – and we relax a little more. But for the property thief it’s high season – summer is like Christmas. It is unfortunate and unfair that we can no longer leave our belongings outside and unattended, but that is the new reality. The majority of property theft is the result of opportunity.
Easy target neighbourhoods become a common “shopping” ground for the property thief. By becoming a hard target for crime, and encouraging your neighbours to do the same, you can create a much safer street.

Vacation tips

If you are going away:

  • Pick up your mail
  • Cut the grass
  • Check both inside and outside the house every few days
  • Pick up items delivered while you are away
  • Park their car in your driveway or designated parking stall
  • Put out your garbage cans on garbage day

Common summer crimes

Items left on your property, which are accessible from a street or alley, can be easily stolen. Your driveway and front yard are target areas for thieves. Put bikes, tools, toys, etc. away when you are not there to keep an eye on them. These items can be taken in a matter of seconds.

Make sure your shed is locked with a decent padlock. There has been an increase in shed break & enters in Edmonton. It is fairly easy for thieves to enter most properties unnoticed, so an unlocked shed becomes a very easy target.

Theft From Vehicle is still one of the most predominant crimes in Edmonton. It is likely due to the large number of vehicles that are left vulnerable. The first step is to remove all visible valuables. Then make sure that all windows are closed and doors are locked. If you have an alarm, use it. Thieves commonly target vehicles that are unlocked. They can rummage through a vehicle with little or no attention. Thieves are targeting registration cards so it is important that you keep your registration on your person and not in your vehicle.
Theft of Vehicle is an ongoing problem in every neighbourhood and community in Edmonton. The location you live is not the target. The vulnerable vehicle is the target:

  • A vehicle left running unattended
  • An unlocked vehicle, particularly those without alarms or steering wheel locks
  • A vehicle with windows open or doors unlocked
  • Vehicles with a spare key near, in, or on a vehicle
  • Vehicles parked in poorly-lit areas

If you have an alarm, use it. The sound of an alarm will bring attention. During the summer it is more likely that neighbours will be outside. As a result very few locked & alarmed vehicles are stolen. A steering wheel lock is a great tool that does not allow a thief to drive your vehicle. If they are able to get inside, they won’t be able to drive it away. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada the most common stolen vehicles in Alberta in 2015 were the Ford F250, Honda Civic, Ford F350, Buick Enclave & Saturn Outlook. The Edmonton Police Service have identified that Dodge Caravans & Plymouth Voyagers are the most common, with Ford Escorts, Saturns and Hondas running a close second and large Ford trucks (F250/F350) third.

Break & Enters are on the rise. In the summertime people often leave windows open which can become an entrance to your home. Close and lock all windows. Keeping your doors locked is a great practice to get into anytime of the year. If you are in your yard, make sure the doors and window out of sight are closed and locked.

With a large majority of people working during the day, there are fewer neighbours home to notice anything suspicious. By making your property a harder target you can lessen the chances of becoming a victim of these types of crime.

And remember, if you see something suspicious, report it to police. Neighbourhood Watch is not about watching your neighbours, it is about watching out for your neighbours. You can save your neighbour from becoming a victim of a crime, the stress associated with it, and the costly expense to fix or replace the property.

Until next time…
Debbie Sellers, ENW

Does Your House Appear to be an Easy Target?

Does Your House Appear to be an Easy Target?

Imagine criminals recognize something about your home or property that makes you more vulnerable to crime than your neighbour. Imagine that a simple change in landscaping could protect you. That’s right Landscaping!

CPTED (pronounced sep-ted) is Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. It doesn’t sound exciting but it is! CPTED helps create safer properties and communities through the design of the environment. It is the science around the design and effective use of physical space to lead to a reduction in the incidence of crime and the fear of crime.

There are many things that a CPTED assessment can address. Here are some basics.

Making Houses Safer

Clearly define where your property starts and stops through the use of plants, fences, changes in grade, or different walkway colour

Provide unobstructed views of entrances by trimming your bushes and trees – see and be seen

Install motion-sensor lights outside

Use quality locks on doors and windows

Making Neighbourhoods Safer

Provide appropriate lighting for streets, paths, alleys, and parks

Maximize people’s ability to see in and out of public spaces

Encourage use of public spaces

Record, Report and Remove graffiti (you can use the 311 App to do this)

Encourage a strong sense of community (consider an ENW block party)

Making Apartments Safe

Clearly differentiate private property from public space through shrubbery, alternate paving stone colour or signage

Provide common spaces to encourage tenant interaction (consider a tenant block party)

Equip entrances with an intercom system

Ensure all public areas are well-lit

Install deadbolt locks and 180 degree eye viewers on unit doors

The Edmonton Police Service offers CPTED workshops for both law enforcement officials and members of the general public. You can also contact EPS about a CPTED assessment.


Imagine that something as simple as trimming tree branches, planting spiny bushes under your windows or changing your lighting can make you a hard target for crime.

Until next time…
Debbie Sellers, ENW

Neighbourhood Watch Program Signage

How to start a Neighbourhood Watch Program

The number one question we get asked is “How do I start a Neighbourhood Watch program?”

The answer isn’t as easy as you may think. It depends on what a Neighbourhood Watch program means to you? It depends on what type of involvement you want to have? What type of commitment are you willing to make? Are you wanting to make a difference yourself or are you hoping that someone else will?

These questions are hard to answer without knowing what your options are. So, let’s start with the basics.
Neighbourhood Watch programs are volunteer based. They are about people being involved in their neighbourhoods and being proactive against crime. It is crime prevention FOR the community BY the community.

Get to Know Your Neighbours

Getting to know your neighbours is vital. Not just 2 or 3 people on your street, get to know the majority of the people who live around and near you. You don’t need to become best friends but knowing each other by name and feeling comfortable enough to knock on a neighbours door can change your neighbourhood. Neighbours who know one another look out for one another.

You can jump in and arrange a meeting of your neighbours. You can gather at someone’s place and talk about recent crime or concerns. You can go door-to-door and ask them if they are interested in a neighbourhood watch program. However you will likely find that most people are apprehensive, especially if they don’t know you. That’s why all ENW programs have a component in which we help foster neighbours getting to know one another.

We recommend a Block Party as an excellent way to meet your neighbours. If you hold an ENW Block Party, not only will you get to know your neighbours but you will be able to share some crime prevention information with them that will help create a safer neighbourhood. In addition we connect organizers with other available resources and provide give-aways from program partners like the Edmonton Police Service and Save-On Foods. We will help you access the variety of resources that you may not know are available to you.

We recommend that you register for Walk Your Block. This program gets residents walking in their own neighbourhood. It is not an organized patrol… it is simply taking a walk where you live. Say hello to neighbours, get to know who and what belongs on your street and be visible. Crime is significantly reduced where community residents are visibly present and are actively involved on their streets and in their neighbourhoods. Crimes don’t take place where criminals can be observed. The more you walk, the less likely your neighbourhood will have criminal activity. If you walk your dog, take daily walks/runs, or even walk to the park with your children; you are already doing most of this program. Now you only have to register (just once) and then log each of your walks (it takes only a minute). It’s simple:

  1. Walk
  2. Be friendly
  3. Be aware
  4. Report suspicious activities to the police at 780-423-4567
  5. Log your walk

By logging your walks you help ENW along with the Edmonton Police Service identify areas where residents are involved and where we can look at how the program is affecting crime.

Make a Difference in Your Community?

ENW operates with a volunteer Board of Directors and less than 2 staff members servicing the entire City of Edmonton. You might ask, how could that work? It works because of the dedicated volunteers in the community who become ENW Community Reps. A Community Rep is a member of ENW and a member of their community league. The Community Rep is someone endorsed, elected or appointed by their community league board to become the Neighbourhood Watch Community Rep. ENW provides the Community Reps with everything to become the local Neighbourhood Watch “expert” so that they can help their community and get others involved and practicing crime prevention strategies. For the Community Rep, ENW provides the resources to help them in that role:

  • An initial training class and ongoing training sessions
  • A supply of resources such as handouts, brochures, and info cards from both ENW and the Edmonton Police Service
  • Lending materials such as identification tags, lanyards, stand-up banners, lawn signs, displays and more for use during door-to-door campaigns or community events
  • One on one access with ENW staff and volunteers to help support the Community Rep in their role at the community league level

In addition, some programs are only available to community leagues who have an ENW Community Rep who can lead the community-level programs such as.

  • Neighbourhood Sign Program
  • Door Sticker program (new February 1, 2016)

In some cases, a community league many have a “Neighbourhood Watch Rep” listed however only those listed on our website have an official Edmonton Neighbourhood Watch program. Check our website for to see if your community league has one.

If your community league is not listed, we encourage you to contact the president and volunteer to be an ENW Community Rep for your area.

If your community league is listed, get in touch with your Community Rep to get involved. Check out the league website for contact information, email the community league president or send ENW a message at admin@enwatch.ca. The Community Rep can help you access the programs and resources available and together start creating a safer neighbourhood where you live.

Until next time…
Debbie Sellers, ENW

program director

ENW Hiring: Program Director

Program Director

Edmonton Neighborhood Watch (ENW) is currently looking for a part-time Program Director to manage various community programs.  The Program Director will report to the Executive Director and is responsible to the ENW Board of Directors. The Program Director will work primarily with community leagues, volunteers, partners and other stakeholders to operate existing programs and to roll-out new ones.

If you are interested in doing fulfilling work with an organization that is helping to reduce crime and is creating safer neighbourhoods, we encourage qualified applicants to apply.

This position will include:

  • Work with program leaders and the general public on programs at the community level
  • Organize program resources with program participants
  • Assist in communication and advertisement of programs
  • Track and report on the programs progress and participation
  • Support both the Executive Director and the board in program development

The Program Director will also be responsible for maintaining the ENW database and manage the evaluations/feedback related to ENW programs.

The qualifications and requirements include a high level of proficiency using MS Office particularly Excel and experience using MS Access is necessary. An understanding of and experience with web-based storage and social media will be required. Prior experience with not for profits is an asset.  The successful candidate will be able to work a flexible schedule and much of the work can be done from home. Some evenings and weekends may be required but will be very limited.  We are looking for someone that works well in a team environment and is a self-starter who can prioritize and complete tasks on time.

This is a contract position for an average of 15 hours per week at $18 per hour that will require you to have your own transportation and a valid Alberta driver’s license. The successful candidate will be required to pass a Police Information Check or an Enhanced Security Check.

The application deadline is Feb 22nd, 2016. The deadline may be extended until a suitable candidate is found. We thank all applicants but only those candidates successful in obtaining interviews will be contacted.

Please email your resume and cover letter to Edmonton Neighborhood Watch at admin@enwatch.ca

No phone calls PLEASE


Car Theft

The Price of Crime

When ENW gets a call or email it almost always starts the same way: “I (or my neighbour, friend or relative) was a victim of a crime.” Rarely do people contact us proactively. That is because most of us are not ready to “do something” until after we or someone we know has been a victim.
At ENW it is our hope that more people can become aware of crime prevention strategies to avoid being that victim. Perhaps if those crime prevention tips become actions in our daily routine we can become harder targets before becoming angry victims. In previous issues of The ENW Dispatch, on our website and through social media we have covered those tips. This month I thought I would share a couple of stories of how crime can affect us personally.

The cost of a $20 snow-shovel

You might leave a shovel in the yard to make it easier to shovel your way to or from your door. But did you know it can be stolen in seconds? Although that doesn’t sound like a “big” crime, all crime has after-effects. You come home from work and there is no shovel. Now you probably can’t shovel the walk until you go buy another shovel. You are not only out the cost of the shovel but you probably need to make a special trip to the store to buy a new one. Whether the theft was big or small, you feel victimized. You may get angry and wonder how someone could come in to your yard and steal your property. The effects start to set in over the first few days. You may find it changes your perception and your sense of security. Every time you hear noise outside you go to the window to “catch them in the act” or find yourself looking at others in your neighbourhood to see if they are using your shovel. You find yourself spending a lot more of your time, effort and thoughts on that “little” crime.

An unlocked vehicle can be many things

Have you heard people tell you they leave their vehicles unlocked so thieves don’t break a window? That philosophy is flawed because most thefts from vehicles are not as a result of a broken window. Breaking a window is loud and it draws attention – not something thieves want. If your car is locked and ALL the valuables are removed you are less likely to be a victim of theft. However if you leave something of value visible, your chances increase significantly. For a lap-top, GPS, sunglasses or even loose-change, a thief may be willing to break your window. Leaving the items in an unlocked vehicle is not only creating an opportunity for you to be a victim of crime but it makes your neighbourhood more vulnerable to future crimes. Easy target neighbourhoods have repeat crimes.

If you leave your vehicle unlocked you may have been a victim already and not know it. An unlocked vehicle is in a secluded area can be temporary shelter for someone. They will probably be gone before you return in the morning – and you might never know they were there. If two people find an open vehicle they can engage in all kinds of activities. It can provide privacy for an amorous interlude or just a safe place to partake in illegal drug-use or a business transaction.
For those who think they have nothing to steal, what about the vehicle itself? The time you will spend reporting the car stolen so that you can start the insurance claim likely results in using most of your coffee and lunch breaks to sort it all out. Endless calls with insurance and the difficulty you may have finding alternate transportation. The return of what you may get back, will never be worth what losing the vehicle actually cost you.

There is also something that thieves are targeting that you may not realize is missing. Imagine your vehicle registration is stolen. With that piece of paper and a stolen vehicle similar to yours, a thief can sell the stolen car to an unsuspecting victim using the back of your registration. Your registration and VIN# will be used by the new “owner” to register your vehicle in their name. The actual stolen car will not appear stolen when the police run their plate, but your plates will be invalid. You may be lucky enough not to be pulled over by police but you certainly won’t get passed your next registration renewal because you are no longer the legal owner of the car. The time and effort needed to fix that problem is extensive for both you and the other victim.

These types of crime may not seem likely, but they are. Until it happens to you, you cannot fully realize how much it will affect your quality of life.

As is with many people a new year is a time to look forward and resolve to make positive changes for the future. Often those resolutions are related to a healthier lifestyle revolving around better eating, exercising and healthier activities. I would like to encourage you to resolve to have a safer lifestyle and to help create a safer neighbourhood where you live.

Have safe and happy 2016.

Until next time…
Debbie Sellers, ENW

Edmonton Neighbourhood Watch (ENW) is a not-for-profit, charitable, volunteer passive crime prevention organization.