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Update From Constable Rich Wall with the Calgary Police Service

Thanks to Constable Rich Wall and co for hosting a valuable crime prevention evening earlier this month. If you would like to learn more about community safety and prevention tactics, please watch this video of the open house and learn more about Rich's ideas about preventing car prowling.

Car Prowling

Hello, I’m Constable Rich Wall and I’m the Community Resource Officer with the Calgary Police Service based in District 2 and I cover the zone of 2-1 which encompasses the community of Richmond/Knob Hill. This article will focus on car prowlings. For 2019, the entire zone of 2-1 which, suffered 533 car prowlings. Richmond Knobhill accounted for 58 of those. 

So, what is a car prowling? Well, it’s when a person or persons enters your vehicle, where its locked or not, with the intention of stealing property. The entry can be either by opening a door or physically breaking in.

In recent months we have had car prowlings occur in the community. These tend to be crimes of opportunity with offenders coming into the community looking for soft targets. What we have found is that the high percentage of these offences were caused by an offender being able to enter through an unlocked door, vehicle doors being left open and in many case, items of property being left out in plain sight and the offender then breaking in to take the item. We can make a direct connection between unlocked vehicles and the break and enters in the community. Car prowlings basically become break and enters. Garage opener are stolen from unlocked vehicles and then used to enter the garage or house through the garage.

The Calgary Police Service has been successful in arresting offenders through proactive and covert investigations and this stems the activities for a while. We know that the offenders range from bored children to organized full-time offenders who make money from the proceeds of the crimes. Our efforts are a part of the work being done to keep the communities safe. Crime prevention education is a solution to reducing crime by giving the public the tips, information and empowerment to help themselves to be safer. I get asked a lot “isn’t it the police’ job to keep my property safe?” and the answer to that is actually yes and no.

We the police prevent crime, investigate offences and arrest offenders but as a property owner you have responsibilities and obligations too. We will assign extra patrol resources into communities to dissuade offenders, fan out media strategies, attend community events/meetings and use social media to get the crime prevention message across but that’s just a little part of the solution. The rest, as home and property owners, is up to you to keep yourself and your families safe by keeping your property safe, operable and secure. Making good decisions such as not leaving property on view in a vehicle or by locking your doors and windows when you are not home also help. So, I hope you can make decisions that safeguard all of us by not making the community a soft target.

Last year we introduced the 9 pm routine. A list of things to check at 9 pm every day to make sure that you have covered off your security items before you go to bed. It has been very successful so please use it to help keep your families and property stay safe. Here are some further tips:

Vehicle theft and car prowling prevention:

  • Garage openers should not be left in vehicles, or should be disengaged, as thieves can use them to enter a home.

  • Avoid parking in unlit areas at night.

  • Don’t leave your vehicle running with the keys in it and unlocked.

  • 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. Especially proximity keys.

  • If you park your vehicle in a parkade, be sure that you do not let anyone else in who doesn’t belong when you are entering and exiting. Wait until the door closes before pulling away whether entering or leaving.

Report any suspicious activity or behaviour, such as someone trying door handles on parked vehicles.

Home, Condo and garage break-in prevention:

  • 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.

  • Consider installing home and vehicle alarm systems and vehicle anti-theft devices such as a steering lock.

  • Ensure that all doors and windows are secured at all times, even when your 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. Keep man doors locked on your garage.

  • If you have bikes, skis and other valuable and lose items, consider locking them to something inside the garage like a bench or wall loop. This gives an extra level of security.

  • Don’t share alarm codes, pass keys or security cards. If they are lost then it could be expensive to re-key your home or condo.

Business Crime Prevention tips:

This crime prevention card below was created by the District 2 CRO Team for businesses that were closed during the pandemic lockdown. The tips are still apply to businesses that are now open.

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