Break and enter front and centre

Some readers may think the crime prevalent in the region is related to the oil patch downturn.

Some readers may think the crime prevalent in the region is related to the oil patch downturn. Regardless

Some readers may think the crime prevalent in the region is related to the oil patch downturn. Regardless

Some readers may think the crime prevalent in the region is related to the oil patch downturn. Regardless, most communities in this area are more aware than ever of property crime.

Recently, several RCMP detachments across Alberta have shone a light on increased workload and voiced concern about what appears to be a crime spike. Police and service providers in the Wetaskiwin area feel they are seeing the same thing.

Petra Pfeiffer, executive director of Wetaskiwin and District Victim Services, said the organization is seeing the results of break and enter and other crime. “Of course we are,” she said Feb. 10 at the Wetaskiwin RCMP detachment.

Cst. Johnson, a member of the Wetaskiwin RCMP detachment, stated that break and enter can be even more frustrating because some people and places seem to be targeted over and over again by criminals.

Cst. Johnson noted that break and enter can include local perpetrators, while some are professional criminals who may be connected to the illegal drug world and also have connections to weapons.

Crime prevention

Pfeiffer noted that crime-proofing a home isn’t necessarily that difficult or that expensive. Both she and Cst. Johnson had a number of suggestions for local readers.

Pfeiffer noted many hardware retailers sell home security equipment that isn’t prohibitively expensive. Most can be easily installed. Some suggestions include noisemakers and alarms, which for the cost can be very effective, along with motion-sensing lights; Johnson noted burglars tend not to like bright lights or noise.

Windows are always an attractive entry point for burglars; reinforce them with rods where windows slide back and forth to prevent opening. Also, window tint is available which prevents anyone outside looking in.

Cameras are always useful, especially if a burglar is caught and prosecuted as the video or photos are solid evidence. Johnson noted trail cameras, that snap photos based on subject motion, are also popular.

Serious security systems that usually involve a monthly fee are also available.

Pfeiffer suggested neighbours get to know and look out for each other; when neighbours know who belongs where, a burglar or strange vehicle is going to stick out like a sore thumb. For those who have the means, a guard dog is a great idea.

When it comes to vehicle break-ins, Johnson said in her experience simply locking the vehicle and keeping valuables out of sight are the best strategies as burglars try the doors, find them locked then move on. “Don’t leave your keys in your car,” said Johnson. “I’ve seen very few broken doors.” She said if you keep valuables out of plain sight, it gives the burglar no reason to break in.

Pfeiffer agreed. “Locking your doors, that’s so important,” said Pfeiffer. “Both your homes and your vehicles.”

After the break and enter

Pfeiffer said victim services knows and understands the aftermath of a break and enter, as she’s seen the victims on past occasions. “Your house is usually your safe place,” said Pfeiffer. She noted it’s normal for victims of break and enter to have anxiety afterwards.

The extra security options mentioned above could help ease anxiety she noted. Another suggestion is to have some extra family or friends stay over for a while.

Cst. Johnson noted that if a victim is having trouble bouncing back from a break and enter, they could find relief by talking to a professional therapist.

Avoid “posse” mentality

It’s inferred on some community Facebook pages that if residents see someone suspicious, they may confront the suspect, perhaps violently. It’s understandable that people are frustrated with property crime.

Cst. Johnson said when residents of the area see or hear something suspicious, they should call police. “Do not engage the person, some can be under the influence, some can have access to weapons,” said Cst. Johnson.

The RCMP officer said the best and most useful thing a resident can do is be a good witness for RCMP. The most helpful things they can do is write down license plate numbers and get an accurate description of both suspects and their vehicles including things like tattoos on people and markings on vehicles. If possible, take photos of suspects if it’s safe to do so.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Government of Alberta COVID-19 Aggregate Data Map. Screen Grab/ https://www.alberta.ca/stats/covid-19-alberta-statistics.htm#geospatial
City of Wetaskiwin under 10 active cases; single active case in County

Active COVID-19 cases in the City and County of Wetaskiwin continue to drop.

File photo
Alberta’s central zone has 670 active cases

301 new cases identified Sunday

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Black Press file photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP execute search warrant; illegal drugs seized

Two Wetaskiwin residents have been charged with possession and trafficking of Methamphetamine.

A ” Justice for Jeff” T-shirt. (Photo submitted)
Rally to be held outside Red Deer courthouse for slain Ponoka man

Sentencing for accused charged with manslaughter with a firearm set for March 4

A cross-country skier glides along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Mild spring with some wintry blasts predicted for most of Canada: Weather Network

Weather Network is forecasting a slower than average start to spring in British Columbia

AstraZeneca’s vaccines are ready for use at the vaccination center in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb.28, 2021. (Michael Reichel/dpa via AP)
Feds hoping for AstraZeneca shots this week as Pfizer-BioNTech prepare next delivery

The first of those doses could start to arrive in Canada as early as Wednesday

People line up outside a vaccine clinic as seniors wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton Alta, on Friday February 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Health Services head sorry for glitches in vaccine booking system for seniors

AHS president said technical issues have been fixed and a virtual waiting room is in place

Vandalism is shown on Alberta NDP MLA Janis Irwin’s constituency office in Edmonton in this handout photo on Saturday, February 27, 2021. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney quickly condemned vandalism at an Opposition legislature member Janis Irwin’s Edmonton office after the MLA posted pictures showing her front window spray-painted with the words “Antifa Liar.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Janis Irwin *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

Edmonton MLA Janis Irwin posted pictures showing the front window spray-painted with the words ‘Antifa Liar’

A helicopter flies past a mountain near McBride, B.C., on Saturday January 30, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Avalanche warning for backcountry users in North and South Rockies

Avalanche Canada is urging backcountry users to always check their regional avalanche forecasts

Most Read