After many of you reached out to me about recent break ins in Ward 25, I was in close contact with neighbourhood leads and senior Toronto Police Services staff.
I also organized a community safety and crime prevention night with the heads of 32 and 53 Division as well as the Police Services’ Special Investigations Unit.
Sergeant Brautigam, Inspector Crone, and Superintendents Fernandes and Gilbert attended the meeting, answered residents’ questions and provided a number of helpful home protection and safety tips.
For those who couldn’t make the meeting, here is a quick summary of the tips:
Get to know your neighbours
- Let your neighbours know if you’re travelling and advise them if anyone will be stopping by your home while you’re away.
- When you’re away for long periods of time, ask someone to visit your house and take in mail, mow the grass or, in the winter, clear the snow.
- Do your homework before hiring anyone to help out with home maintenance. Ask your neighbours to recommend services and do not hire anyone that comes to your door without supplies, business cards and references.
Report suspicious activity and crimes to police
- Don’t hesitate to report any suspicious activity to your local police division.
- Neighbourhood crimes are often connected and reporting behaviours or activities that are out of the ordinary, no matter how insignificant they may seem, can help the police solve or prevent crimes.
- Report all crimes and break ins, even if nothing was stolen. If the police are informed of break ins they can respond with increased neighbourhood patrols to prevent future crime.
Home Protection Measures
- Keep valuables in places where a burglar wouldn’t think to look for them. For example, do not leave keys to expensive cars by your door.
- If you decide to purchase a personal safe make sure it’s secured to either the wall or floor.
- If you’re interested in purchasing a home security camera, make sure you research your options. The police recommended talking to a professional about the difference between analog and digital cameras before deciding which is best for your needs. If the camera records footage do not leave the recorder in a visible spot in your home.
- Anyone trying to get in to your house does not want confrontation and is looking for an empty home. If you do not want to answer the door when you’re home alone yell “I’m busy” or make sure that the person outside can hear you.
What to do if you’ve been broken into
- If you’re in your home when someone breaks in, call 911 immediately and make sure to tell the dispatcher that the burglar is in your home.
- If you return home and it appears as if someone has been inside your house do not enter and call 911 immediately.
Superintendent Fernandes also recommended residents read a 2011 Post City article where a reformed former burglar revealed the tricks of his former trade with an aim to help homeowners protect themselves.
If you have any further questions about home protection, I would recommend touching base with your local police division.
Toronto Police Services Contact Information
Non-emergency line(416) 808-2222
Steeles Avenue to Lawrence Avenue and Bayview Avenue to the CNR line
General line(416) 808-3200
Crime Prevention Officer
Constable Howard Clements(416) 808-3256
Lawrence Avenue to Bloor Street and Spadina Road to the Don River
General Line(416) 808-5300
Crime Prevention Officers
Timothy Somers and Alex Li(416) 808-5337