Hello, I’m Constable Rich Wall and I’m the Community Resource Officer based in District 2 and I cover the zone of 2-1 which encompasses your community. I wanted to keep you updated on some of the crime issues that we are facing in our communities.

In recent months we have had some car prowlings and break and enter crimes from detached garages. The communities that have been affected are Altadore, Bankview, Garrison Woods, Lincoln Park, Marda Loop, Richmond, Rutland Park and South Calgary. These crimes have involved the stealing of bikes, electrical goods, sports equipment, even small change. In a high percentage of these cases, the vehicles were left unlocked and garages were also insecure and man doors unlocked. Valuables and other property have been left on view in vehicles and in open garages before being taken. Also there is a clear link between vehicles being prowled and the garage opener being stolen then used to enter the garage. This is very popular with offenders and can easily be avoided.

As a property owner you have a responsibility and obligation to keep your property safe and secure. The Calgary Police Service has been successful in arresting offenders through proactive and covert investigations and this stems the activities for a while but then soon after the crimes start to go up again. We have assigned extra patrol resources into communities, fanned out media strategies, attended community events and meetings and used social media to get the message across but the message is still not being heard. We cannot drop our guard and with simple prevention tips we can reduce the instances of these crimes happening.  We have received amazing information from the community to assist us in dealing with this criminal activity but we are still seeing common sense mistakes that are allowing and assisting offenders to target our communities and create victims of crime.

Here are some crime prevention tips to help make you and your property safer and prevent  the risk of being a victim of crime:

Garages

Protect your valuables: Put curtains or blinds up to cover any windows in the garage, so thieves can’t look for items to steal, or see if your vehicle is there.

Make it secure: The person-door between your house and attached garage should swing inward into the garage, be solid core, and have a deadbolt lock. The same goes for other exterior person-doors on your garage.

Don’t give thieves an open invitation: Keep your overhead door closed and your other garage doors locked, even when you are at home — this includes the door between your home and an attached garage.

Check your locks: Secure your person-doors with deadbolts (which need to be operated from the outside with a key).

Make it bright: Install lights near your garage to keep the area around doors and windows lit: These can be motion sensor or photo (light) sensitive, so that they turn on automatically when someone walks past or when the sun sets.

Put up a number: Put your house number on your garage, especially if it opens up into a back alley. This helps emergency personnel to identify which house is yours.

Keep records: Catalogue your garage’s contents, including serial numbers of valuable items and vehicle identification numbers. Taking photographs, videos or digital recordings of contents can also help police and your insurance company if there’s a break-in, fire, or flood.

Double-check: Never drive away without checking that your overhead garage door is down. Also check the operation of automatic doors once a month for safety (read your instruction booklet or contact the door’s manufacturer for details).

Maintenance: Keep bushes trimmed back from garage windows, to avoid letting thieves use the bushes to hide their break-in attempt.

Double Up: Lock up vehicles and high-value items such as lawnmowers even when they’re inside the locked garage.

Out of Town: Disconnect your automatic garage door opener when you’re out of town.

Vehicles

Lock it up. Close the windows, lock the doors and the trunk, and take your keys with you — never leave your vehicle unlocked, even for the few minutes it takes to duck into a store or run back into the house. And don’t hide a key on the vehicle — criminals know ALL the hiding spots.

Turn it off. Never leave your vehicle idling alone, even if you lock the doors. It costs the environment in emissions, and it could cost you when a criminal bypasses the door lock in seconds.

Hide your valuables. Wherever and whenever you park, remove your valuables. If that’s not practical (you’re in the middle of a shopping day, for example), hide the valuables in the trunk, out of sight, and then move the vehicle to a different place in the parking lot. Thieves watch parking lots to see who is stashing shopping bags and then heading back into the mall.

Garage Opener: Please take your garage opener into the house with you. This is the number one reason for an offender gaining entry into garages, by stealing the opener from the car prior to stealing from the garage.

Stow it right. If you have a garage, use it and lock it. If you don’t, choose a parking spot that’s as well-lit and well-travelled as possible, within sight of your windows.

Protect yourself. Never leave any identifying information, such as your name, address, phone number or vehicle registration/insurance in the vehicle. Carry it in your wallet or purse instead, and never leave these items in the vehicle. You’ll also need the registration and insurance details in case the vehicle is stolen, so it’s a great idea to make an extra copy of these documents, to keep at home.

Report it! If you see suspicious people in or around vehicles, call the Calgary Police Service at 266-1234. And if your vehicle is broken into or stolen, report it to police right away, regardless of loss or insurance coverage. Break-ins are rarely isolated — reporting them immediately with as much detail as possible can help police in their investigation.

Thanks! Constable Rich Wall #4160, District 2

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