Chestermere RCMP are reminding residents to secure their homes and vehicles to help reduce crime in the city.
“Lock it or lose it, it’s very simple,” said Chestermere RCMP Detachment Commander Staff Sgt. Mark Wielgosz.
Wielgosz presented the third quarter report to council on Feb. 5. Although there was a 14.5 per cent reduction in property crimes in the quarter, Wielgosz said that many of those crimes were preventable.
Police statistics show that 54 per cent of the property crimes in the third quarter involved insecure vehicles.
“The vast majority of our crimes here are crimes of opportunity,” said Wielgosz.
“Fifty-four per cent of those were preventable and those are only the ones we know for sure were preventable,” he said, “there are other instances where that number could be higher.”
With such a high rate of easily preventable crimes, residents could have big impact on crime in the city by simply locking up.
“If you look at it from those terms, simply locking your vehicles and making sure your homes are secure could potentially have a 54 per cent difference in those crimes,” said Wielgosz.
To help people get into the habit of securing their properties and vehicles, Wielgosz recommends that people take a page out of Calgary’s book and institute a 9 O’clock routine.
“The 9 O’clock routine… or whatever works best for you, pick a time in the day where you just do a quick walk around your property and your vehicles to make sure they’re locked and there’s no valuables visible in it and everything’s secure,” he said.
Other ways that people can help the police keep the community safe is to report suspicious activity promptly and register for the home surveillance registry.
“Report suspicious activity immediately don’t wait,” said Wielgosz.
“Let us know immediately so we can send someone out there to go check it out,” he said.
Wielgosz said that there have been cases in the past where the prompt reporting has allowed the RCMP to apprehend offenders before they could get away with stolen property.
With close to 21,000 people living in Chestermere, there is a lot of opportunity to for residents to have an impact on the safety of the city.
“We can’t be everywhere all the time, and with a city with a population of around 21,000 people that’s 21,000 sets of eyes that could bring us valuable information,” said Wielgosz.
Similar to calling in suspicious activity, the home surveillance registry allows RCMP to obtain video evidence of a crime much faster.
“By having this registry it’ll help us identify evidence much sooner than what it would be if an officer was knocking on doors in the traditional method,” said Wielgosz.
“By cutting down that amount of time and effort that’s taken to try and identify those leads we have a higher chance of identifying an offender,” he said.
It also improves the chances that police will be able to recover and return stolen property.
“Every little bit helps,” said Wielgosz, “we’re trying to…detect, prevent and deter crime in our community.”
One of the programs that has been working to deter crime in the city has been the habitual offender management program.
“We’ve made some good headway, we’ve been able to build some solid cases,” said Wilegosz.
Currently the police are monitoring two habitual offenders in the city.
“We’ve been able to, for the most part keep them in custody at least for the majority of quarter three,” said Wielgosz.
“Without those persons in the community they’re not committing crimes, their friends aren’t visiting them to commit crimes in the area,” he said, “and it’s been helpful to us.”