March Bearspaw Beat - Rural Crime Watch tips
This month, I thought I’d discuss an issue that impacts us all – rural crime. In working with both the Cochrane Foothills Protective Association (CFPA) and the RCMP, the message is clear – crime is a matter of opportunity and we are not going to police ourselves out of it.
The CFPA, our local Rural Crime Watch group, recently launched its website – www.cfparcw.ca – there you can find tips about how to protect yourself and your property. For $20 a year, I strongly recommend becoming a member. Membership includes access to the Reporter App where you can report suspicious activity. This is not a substitute for calling the RCMP but it does let your neighbours know, in real time, of any potential activity to be on the lookout for. If you see something suspicious, always call 9-1-1.
Most of us live on cul-de-sacs or in close-knit communities. Get to know your neighbours. Know the types of cars they drive. Doing something simple like this makes it easier to start identifying activity that does not fit. If it doesn’t fit, report it to the RCMP immediately.
Remember thieves are often on sprees and don’t typically operate alone. They are looking for easy targets. Don’t make it easy. Don’t leave your car running. Don’t leave your keys or the garage door opener in your vehicle. Don’t hang keys by the front door. Keep valuables locked in a safe.
If you’re going away, tell a neighbour. Better yet, have someone stay at your house. If it’s been snowing, have someone visit your property to shovel your pathway and walk around your home. Video surveillance, alarms, fences, gates, dogs, motion detector lights and remote access lights are all good deterrents. Again, it’s about opportunity. Thieves are typically in and out of your home in 2 minutes.
The M.O. of these criminals is to knock on the door first. If you are not home, one of the best ways to deter break-ins is with a doorbell with a camera that can be accessed through your cell phone that lets you answer your door remotely. Again, do your best to make it appear as though someone is home.
I have been asked about the potential for creating a local Citizens on Patrol (COP) group. If this is something you think you would be interested in doing, please drop me a line or give me a call and I would be happy to facilitate a meeting to help start the process. More information about COP can be found at www.acopa.ca.
We are all the eyes and ears of our community and I do believe that with some diligence on all our parts, we can make a difference in creating a safer Bearspaw.