The RCMP’s advice for crime prevention was detailed in Mulhurst Bay May 10, but boiled down to one thing: lock up your stuff.
The Leduc Rural Crime Watch and Thorsby/Breton RCMP, which both assist in the Mulhurst Bay, north Pigeon Lake areas, held a crime prevention meeting in the community hall that night. There were about 40 people present.
Thorsby/Breton RCMP commander S/Sgt. Harp Dhaliwal welcomed everyone to the presentation, which includes several other members of the RCMP, County of Wetaskiwin community peace officers and the municipality, which was represented by assistant CAO Jeff Chipley.
The presentation was divided up between Dhaliwal, Leduc RCMP detachment member Cst. Julian Celms and rural crime watch president Cor Dewit and secretary Lois Shanahan.
Dewit stated that the rural crime watch group has the mandate of helping to reduce crime, alert members for crime in the area and to act as the eyes and ears of police in the Pigeon Lake area, among others.
Celms showed those present a break down of the number of property crimes occurring in the region over the past few years, including 2017, when the total number of property crimes was 197.
He stated property crimes were the subject of the presentation.
Celms said crime prevention includes every person, and to stress his point he had the RCMP officers present check the parking lot outside the community hall for unlocked vehicles. When they came back, they reported two vehicles had been left unlocked outside.
He pointed out the three most commonly stolen vehicles in this area are pick-up trucks, and 39 per cent of all vehicles stolen have the keys in them.
The constable said he was going to discuss crime prevention from a frontline point of view. He said many homeowners make simple mistakes that help criminals rob them, including leaving their home to look like no one had been there in a while, leaving valuables in easy view through windows and the “Keys to the Castle” problem: all the property keys left on one keychain in one drawer.
Also, he said certain items like guns should be treated as special, and always be hidden and locked. “Bad guys really like guns,” said Celms. “Lock up your guns.”
The constable said, if you try to think like a criminal, most of them are opportunistic and not very energetic. Hence, they’ll go for easy targets: houses that are easy to approach surrounded by lots of shadows and thick trees, cars that are unlocked, property that is unsecured etc.
Both Dewit and Celms spoke about the “CPTED” philosophy, which is essentially checking your property for weakness that criminals can exploit.
Shanahan said lighting your property is very important, as criminals like to work in the dark. “They don’t usually go where it’s well lit,” said Shanahan.
She advised LED lights which, even on batteries, can last up to three years plus security cameras.
Another element is to make your property look like someone is there. Plow the snow and mow the lawn, get the mail picked up, leave a light or two on etc.
Securing doors and windows is important; doorknob locks don’t cut it, get a deadbolt with at least a 2.5 inch bolt. Doorknobs can be easily kicked in.
Celms also suggested documenting your property by photographing it and recording serial numbers. He said a lot of stolen property is recovered, but if the serial numbers aren’t known, owners aren’t easily identified.
Celms also encouraged people to get security camera with a recorder, and ensure the camera is angled properly to get faces, not backsides.
Several residents asked about response times to Mulhurst Bay. Both Dhaliwal and Celms answered that if the crime in question includes a threat of bodily harm, the response will be as quickly as humanly possible. Dhaliwal said a persons crime is always a priority.
Also, he said police want the community to contact them about strange vehicles, suspicious persons etc. because if the police don’t know what’s going on, they can’t stop it.