Several residents in Westboro have received special notices in their mailboxes from Ottawa Police Services.
A postcard warned that there had been recent break-ins at neighbourhood homes and businesses. Police are encouraging people to take safety measures, like locking their doors and windows and securing patio doors.
Constable Dawn Neilly, the Community Police Centre officer for Wellington, has been distributing the postcard-type notices to area residents to let people know that there has been an increase in break-ins, especially to vehicles in the Hintonburg area.
“We are reminding people not to leave person property in vehicles,” says Neilly, adding that thieves are generally opportunists who break into vehicles if they see something like a purse that is lying around inside.
Rob Haslett received one of the cards at his Westboro home, and says it’s the first time he’s noticed ever receiving one.
“If I leave my truck unlocked, which periodically happens, I would say that about twice a year someone is in it at night rooting around,” says Haslett.
Westboro resident Jackie Barwin says she was surprised when she found the card in her mailbox. While she knows there are always ebbs and flows to crime in her area, she had not heard of any recent trouble. This is also the first time she has received such a notice from Ottawa police.
“It’s good that police are taking the initiative to make people more careful,” she says. Although she feels absolutely safe at home and in her neighbourhood, she recognizes that it is never good to get too complacent.
Tim Golding also feels safe in his Hintonburg neighbourhood, even though he is aware of occasional thefts and break-ins. Recently, he and his wife noticed someone prowling around a neighbour’s back yard and rummaging in someone’s parked car. They called the police and also knocked on doors of those neighbours to let them know what was going on.
Constable Marc Soucy at Ottawa Police Services says it is absolutely right to call the police when you notice something suspicious around your home or your neighbour’s.
“Let us determine why they are there,” he says. “Call the police and let us find out what is going on.”
Golding says he does not consider his Hintonburg neighbourhood to be particularly dangerous.
“The crimes that do occur are not crimes of violence—they are crimes of opportunity,” says Golding.
Common-sense measures, like not leaving cellphones or valuables in the car, can go a long way in preventing thefts.
Break-ins don’t only affect local homeowners. Wellington West BIA Executive Director, Zachary Dayler, says that in the early morning hours of July 25 there was “a pretty rough blitz of graffiti” and vandalism that affected several businesses on Wellington Street – and cost the BIA about $5,000 to clean up.
Dayler says the matter is now being dealt with by police.
Tips and resources from Ottawa Police Services
- Keep your doors and windows locked at all times. Invest in deadbolt locks.
- Secure patio doors by inserting wooden sticks in the floor channel.
- Put radios and lights on timers when you are away from home. This will help give the impression that someone is home.
- Have adequate exterior lighting. Your street number should be clearly visible.
- Trim trees and shrubs that could easily hide intruders.
One resource area residents might find useful is the Ottawa Crime Mapping Tool, which maps the location of reported crimes and gives some details regarding the type of crime reported. Email alerts can also be created. For recent crime-related statistics, check out the 2012-2013 crime trends report in Kitchissippi ward right here.
For more information on local crime prevention initiatives, contact the Wellington Community Police Centre at the Hintonburg Community Centre (1064 Wellington Street) or visit crimepreventionottawa.ca.