How to protect yourself from one of the most common property crimes in Canada
By: Ellen Stevens, Staff Writer
The following article was inspired by a recent, very early morning phone call, “Ellen you have to come to work as soon as possible, someone broke-in last night.” Sadly, that was not my first time dealing with this issue. A couple of years ago, someone kicked down my own door in broad day light. Why? So they could quickly carry off a handful of electronics.
“All kinds of homes get broken into. There is no such thing as a safe neighbourhood.”
Though the act must have lasted no longer than 4 minutes, the effects have stayed with me for a long time.
The Arbitrage spoke with Russ Lauria from ITC Security Consultants as well as an inside source about the commodity of break-ins, how to avoid them, and the possible psychological affects.
Break-ins are an extremely common problem. Stats Canada reports that “With close to 200,000 break-ins in 2010, this offence was one of the most common property crimes reported by police, accounting for 15% of all property-related incidents.” Russ explained that there have been weeks when they would receive daily break-in reports (almost 3 times a day). These occurrences were documented from York Region – a fairly safe and wealthy area. An inside source said this problem is so common in various places that there are people who don’t even call it in anymore.
“All kinds of homes get broken into. There is no such thing as a safe neighbourhood.” Said Russ Lauria, of ITC Security Consultants.
Criminals find their target by checking for doors which are open and will drive around and look for places that look easy to break into. At other times they will come around and scope a specific place out. In order to break-in, criminals will use screwdrivers and crowbars. Most often they just kick the door down.
“They will look for homes without any form of security and areas in which people leave valuable things in plain sight,” said an inside source.
Russ and his company offer ways to make your home less of a target. He stresses to lock your doors, to keep the lights on, and hide expensive things from plain view. An inside source also pointed out that people in a neighbourhood should watch out for others and know when they’re at home and when they’re not. A neighbourhood-watch-type system is a big help as well.
What is something people should do to avoid a break and enter?
- Avoid making your home an easy target.
- Make sure you ID your electronics so that if they end up in a hawk shop the police can trace them.
- Keep your jewellery in the safe or at the bank.
- Make it harder for intruders to steal things. Hide stuff, and make it less accessible. ”Usually they are in and out of your home within 4 minutes,” said Russ.
- Don’t hide the front of the house with trees and bushes.
- Have some sort of deterrent such as a dog or an alarm.
- Don’t leave valuables out that are easily visible through windows.
- Know who your neighbours are, that way you will know if someone belongs in your neighbourhood and if they don’t.
- If you see something suspicious call 911.
The most common items stolen during a break-and-enter are jewellery and electronic items. Sometimes the criminals will take your car keys and will come back for the car later on.
Usually those intending to break-and-enter, wait until home owners leave the home. Having a person in the home usually scares them off. However “people have gotten hurt and even killed during a break and enter,” said an inside source.
Russ explained that this is personal for him as well. “I’m not speaking from only the perspective of a police officer and a business owner, I’m also speaking about myself.” Russ explained that his cottage was a target a while back. It’s a complete violation of safety; it’s hurtful and creepy. “Some people actually move because of a break-in. Some people- women especially- who’ve had their personal things rummaged through feel very violated,” said Russ. People can also become scared to be at home by themselves. They become startled by any little noise they hear outside.
Though security systems can work as a deterrent, they don’t always protect your stuff from being stolen. They notify a third party that someone is in your home. Russ and his team work to make your home less attractive for criminals. That’s the most important step.
According to Stats Canada, there has been a decrease in break-ins. This decrease may be partially explained by a boost in the use of home security devices, such as alarms. They suggest that there is, “also a possibility that rising insurance deductibles could result in fewer incidents being reported to police.”
There are people out there who make a living by doing break-and-enters; others are simply full time criminals. As Russ pointed out, some people use money for positive things; other people use it to create harm. At the end of the day it all comes down to money. “It’s all about money… all about money.”
If anyone is interested in advice on how to make their home safer and less appealing to criminals please visit: www.itcsecurityconsultants.com
Business News with BITE.
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