Over the past couple of months residents have reported to the neighbourhood association house break-ins and also cars rummaged through during the night. When two or three houses are broken into, even across a large neighbourhood, it can seem like a crime wave has started. We have talked with our Community Resource Officer (Const Andrew Sharen, North Division, Waterloo Regional Police Service) and he has provided several suggestions for us.
Here is a link to a web page which has many ideas for improving home safety. This page includes a home security "self audit" you can download as a PDF. We should not kid ourselves that crime "seldom happens" around us. We live in a downtown neighbourhood which is extremely vibrant and very conveniently located next to transit and a variety of entertainment. Our location also makes it easy for people to get in and out quickly and we tend not to notice folks who are just walking through because there are so many of them.
Here is a link to the police Neighbourhood Watch. They have a great deal of information about staying safe and you can subscribe to their twitter feed. Our household gets occasional calls from Neighbourhood Watch about break-ins across the city because we have subscribed to that service. The Waterloo Regional Neighbourhood watch page is here.
Finally, if you would like to know the types of calls the police get every day, grouped by category like robbery, assault etc., try these two websites. Major incidents are listed here and the daily logs are here.
It is nice to have a sense of what is happening around us, but probably the best link above is to the home security "self audit". The simplest way to avoid theft is to make your property more secure and harder for any potential thief to enter. Our own house was broken into many years ago partially because we had a wooden door we thought was secure. It looked like something like this:
It was a good door, but the panels were its weakness and thieves broke through them. Our contractor said "oh yeah, you need a solid wood school door" which we acquired from a used building supply store. This door is very tough and would require a great deal of time, energy and noise to break through. Oh yeah, it's bolted shut as well so our security is much better than it was in the past. But I guess we learned the hard way.