As the weather warms up, we all look forward to enjoying the fresh air, whether it’s in the garden, on a bike ride, or just out and about running errands.
“In spring and summer, we tend to be in and out of the house a lot, have windows open, and spend time in our backyards,” says Sergeant James Ritchie with the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) Break and Enter Section. “That usually means doors are left unlocked and windows are open, making you a target of opportunity for would-be thieves.”
The Break and Enter Section would like to remind the community of some safety practices to reduce the risk of a break-in:
- Keep your doors locked, even when you are home, to prevent undetected entry while inside or out in the yard.
- Ensure ground floor windows are closed and locked before leaving the house or going to sleep at night.
- Purses, wallets, and vehicle keys should be stored away from entry doors and windows.
- Keep vehicles locked and garage door openers out of sight.
- Install motion detector exterior lighting.
- Keep garages and sheds locked when not in use.
- Jewellery, passports, and other valuables should be stored in a safe or safety deposit box.
- Keep an eye out for suspicious persons in your neighbourhood and report it to police immediately.
“Don’t wait to call police, even if you think it’s minor,” says Sergeant Ritchie. “One of our Police Communicators can assess and determine how to respond. Your call could prevent someone else from becoming a victim.”
If you’re going away, don’t advertise no one’s home, advises Sergeant Ritchie. “Don’t announce your vacation plans on social media and delay posting photographs until you are back home.”
He also suggests having your grass cut, placing lights on a timer, and suspending delivery of mail and newspapers. “Keep a car in the driveway. If not your own, have a neighbour park there while you are away. It’s a great deterrent.”
Additionally, police typically see an increase in bicycle thefts this time of year, particularly from residential condominium and apartment buildings. The OPS encourages bicycle owners to use these tips to keep their bike secure:
- If you reside in a residential building, do not let strangers in. Tenants will have a key or fob for their own use. Be mindful of people on foot or bike following your vehicle in through the garage door. Many thieves will follow a tenant or pretend to be one.
- Utilize any secure bicycle storage provided by the building and keep your bicycle locked while inside it.
- Store your bicycle inside your residential unit if your building permits it.
- Invest in a good quality lock. The OPS encourages bike owners to speak to their local bicycle dealer for advice on the lock that best suits their needs and the quality of their bicycle.
- Lock up your frame, not just your wheel.
- Record your bicycle make, model, and serial number. Keep this information in a safe place, along with a photograph of your bicycle.
- Register your bicycle on bike registry apps such as 529 Garage to enable you to alert fellow Ottawa-area cyclists if your bike is stolen or lost. OPS offices also access this app to check recovered bikes and get them returned to their owners.
- Report suspicious persons to security or police immediately. Remember that it only takes seconds for a thief to steal your bicycle. Try to make note of the clothing and a physical description of the suspect.
Anyone with information relating to any break and enters is asked to call the Ottawa Police Service Break and Enter Unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 4533.
Submit an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or visiting crimestoppers.ca.
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