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Protecting Your Property - Tips from the Calgary Police Service

Happy New Year! I hope you and your family have enjoyed a restful holiday season. As we find ourselves getting back into our regular routines, it’s also an opportunity to create some new habits as a family. Establishing a home security routine, whether you’re at home or travelling, is a substantial deterrent for thieves and an effective way to ensure your home and belongings are secure.

Break and enters, car prowling, and stolen vehicles are most often crimes of opportunity. In fact, a residential break-in was reported approximately every two-and-a-half hours to the Calgary Police Service in 2019. Nearly half of those occurred via an unlocked window, door, garage, or vehicle. In an ideal world, forgetting to lock a door or close a window may not seem like a big deal. In reality, it’s common for thieves to take advantage of these forgetful moments, which can result in devastating consequences. That’s why it’s important to create and practice a home security routine as a family. That way, when your children are old enough to stay home alone for short periods of time, they will know how to practice home security.

The Calgary Police Service encourages citizens to incorporate the 9pm Routine into their nightly routine, so it becomes habit.

The 9pm Routine includes:

  • Removing valuables from vehicles. This includes electronics, loose change, sports equipment, mail, and important documents and garage door openers. Criminals can use garage door openers found in vehicles to gain access to the garage and your home if a door leading into the residence isn’t locked.

  • Ensuring vehicles are locked, windows are closed and, if possible, parked in the garage. If you must park outside, try to park in well-lit areas.

  • Closing garage doors and windows.

  • Locking any doors in the garage, including those leading into the house.

  • Checking that all of the house doors - front, back, side, and garage - are locked.

  • Ensuring all windows are shut.

  • Turning on an exterior light so that any suspicious activity around your house can easily be seen by passersby.

  • Setting a home alarm system, if you have one.

Make the 9pm Routine a habit for your whole family. Your children are never too young to start getting in the habit of locking things up and being on the lookout for suspicious activity. Develop a routine with them to make sure windows are closed when leaving the house, toys are brought inside at the end of the day or locked up, and doors are always locked. Teach your kids about what is considered suspicious activity in your neighborhood and what to do if they see it.

Securing the outside of your home is important, too, including front and back yards. Keep all ladders and other tools that could be used to break into your residence locked up and out of sight. Also, make sure to avoid leaving new purchases and deliveries outside your residence. Instead, have a trusted neighbor pick up any parcels left on your front step or opt to have packages delivered to a post office or depot for pick-up.

Finally, get to know your neighbors and be able to recognize suspicious activity in your community. If you or your children see any suspicious people or activity, report it to the police immediately by calling the non-emergency number at 403-266-1234 or call 9-1-1 for a crime in progress. 

Let’s all do our part to keep our homes, communities, and families safe. 

Mark Neufeld is the Chief Constable of the Calgary Police Service.

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