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.
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 has 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 any time 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