The Calgary Police Service is reminding citizens to keep their homes secure, following a number of overnight break ins.
Residential break ins and car prowlings are quite often crimes of opportunity and are not isolated to one area of the city. Recently, the Service has seen a large number of break and enters occuring overnight while citizens are sleeping. Last month there were 156 residential break and enters, of which 91 occurred in the overnight hours.
“As the weather gets warmer and more people are out enjoying the fresh air, we want to remind citizens to lock up their homes, garages and vehicles,” says Sgt. Todd Nichol of the CPS Centralized Break and Enter Teams. “In a case where a door is left unlocked or a window is left open, a break in can happen in a matter of seconds and can have major impacts for the victim. Overnight break ins are especially serious as they have the potential to create very dangerous situations for homeowners.”
Citizens are reminded to always keep their residences locked and windows secured, especially overnight. Calgarians should use the following tips to help prevent break and enters, vehicle thefts and other property crime offences in their community.
Home and garage break-in prevention:
- Ensure that all doors and windows are secured at all times, even when you’re home. Culprits need mere moments to commit a theft or break in. If you do open any windows or doors, make sure you only open them for rooms that someone is present in.
- If you are spending time in your backyard, then always make sure your front door is locked and vice versa. If possible, keep a key with you and lock all your doors.
- Always lock your vehicles and close your garage doors, even if you are nearby or only leaving for a short period of time. Be sure to remind your family to close garage doors after they’ve removed bikes, vehicles or other items. An open door is an invitation.
- Establish a routine where you check that all doors and windows, including the garage, are properly secured before leaving your home or going to bed. Make sure to remove garage door openers from vehicles parked outside your residence.
- Never leave spare keys for your residence or vehicle inside your vehicle or other obvious hiding spots around your residence.
- Offenders will often break into a residence as a way to steal a vehicle parked outside the residence. When you’re at home, store your vehicle keys away from the entrance to your house.
- Report any suspicious people or activity in your community by calling 403-266-1234 or 9-1-1 if there is a crime in progress.
- If you are away, ensure a friend or neighbour picks up your mail and flyers, and keeps your yard appearing cared for, giving the impression that you’re around.
- Use timers to control lighting within the home.
- Install exterior motion lights to brighten dark areas around doors or windows to make them easily seen by a neighbour or passersby.
- Store important or irreplaceable documents and items away from your home, such as in a safety deposit box. If you see homes with open doors, front doors with keys left in the locks, or a neighbour’s car with the trunk left open, give them a quick call to let them know.
- Consider installing home surveillance equipment and vehicle alarm systems and vehicle anti-theft devices.
Vehicle theft and car prowling prevention:
- Report any suspicious activity or behaviour, such as someone trying door handles on parked vehicles.
- Garage openers should not be left in vehicles, or should be disengaged, as thieves can use them to gain entry into a home.
- Avoid parking in unlit areas at night.
- Lock your doors and close all windows at all times, even while you are in your yard.
- Hide your valuables out of sight, or better yet, take them with you.
- Don’t keep extra keys in your vehicle.