Edmonton Police Service (EPS) Community Liaison Team members met with nine residents from Parkdale (5 people) and Cromdale (4 people) on Thursday, August 15, 2019 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM at the Parkdale Cromdale Community Centre. Led by Constable Megan Holmes with assistance from Sargeant Jack (he only goes by his first name because he’s an EPS rock star) we were able to learn about:
Common crimes in our neighbourhood.
Downtown/NW Divisions’ approaches to deal with neighbourhood crime.
Community and household prevention techniques related to common crimes.
Constable Holmes and Sargeant Jack provided an engaging and informative discussion and learning opportunity by letting us know that:
Parkdale Cromdale Community is covered by 2 EPS Divisions, with Cromdale falling under the Downtown Division and Parkdale, the Northwest Division.
The majority of crimes in our neighbourhoods are property crimes (about 70%) through break and enter and vehicle crime – theft of vehicles and theft from vehicles.
They presented community crime information, discussed ways to prevent our property being targetted and answered questions regarding some of our personal experiences. We talked about how to use 911, the non-emergency police line 780.423.4567, and how to report crime online using the link: https://www.edmontonpolice.ca/ContactEPS/OnlineCrimeReporting
The online reporting site also provides access to a cellphone app for crime reporting.
Constable Holmes and Sargeant Jack provided some excellent ideas for protecting our homes and vehicles:
Step 1: Secure the interior
Install deadbolts on exterior doors and use them.
Do not leave windows and doors open when no one is at home.
Do not place valuables in locations where they can be seen through the windows or doors.
Close curtains and blinds when you are out.
Do not place keys, wallets, purses , backpacks or jewelry near the front door where thieves can quickly enter and leave unnoticed. Keep front door locked.
Place a stick in the track of sliding doors and windows or install locks to keep thieves from lifting them out.
Leave a radio on when you are not at home.
Keep valuables such as jewelry, cash and documents in a safety deposit box or home safe.
Set lights on timers when going on vacation and have someone collect your mail daily.
Keep a detailed record of serial numbers in the event items are stolen and recovered.
Install an alarm system.
Step 2: Secure the exterior
Install motion sensor lights at entrances to yard and house.
Lock the shed and detached garage.
Remove items that thieves can use to gain access to house such as ladders and tools.
Bring in mail, newspapers and flyers each day.
Trim trees and bushes that could conceal burglars, specifically around windows and doors.
Keep your yard maintained. A poorly maintained yard invites thieves.
Shovel snow shortly after each snowfall.
Secure bottles, cans and other items that can be used by thieves to exchange for cash quickly.
Don’t advertise recent electronics purchases by placing boxes on the street. Cut boxes up and place them out on street with interiors sides exposed.
Install security cameras.
Step 3: Secure the Garage/ Vehicles
Keep tools and other valuables in locked cabinets.
Close and lock garage door, windows and side doors when not in the garage.
Place blinds or curtains over windows.
Do not leave house or car keys in vehicles or garage.
Lock the door between the house and the garage.
Install a motion sensor light at the exterior entrances of the garage.
Lock up bicycles to something secure .
Do not leave car doors and windows open where thieves can steal garage door opener and other valuables. (Thieves will steal garage door opener and return later to access garage)
Do not leave vehicles running while unattended.
Install steering wheel locks on vehicles that are parked outside.
Wait until garage door is fully closed before driving off.
Check your license plate regularly and secure it with different types of screw heads.
Step 4: Secure your Neighborhood
Meet your neighbors, they are your first line of de-fence when suspicious activities are taking place around your home. Share your phone numbers if you feel comfortable.
Host a block party.
Be aware of strangers and suspicious vehicles. Call 911 if you have visual contact of suspicious persons.
Call 311 if street lights are burned out. Darkened streets attract thieves.
Remove graffiti on your property as quickly as possible.
Call 311 if graffiti is on public property such as utility boxes and light posts.
Call 311 if a property is accumulating garbage, being vandalized and not repaired.
Get involved in crime prevention programs such as Edmonton Neighborhood Watch.
Let neighbors know if they’ve left the garage door or garden gate open.
Some of the questions asked and discussed were:
Q. How do I protect my personal information to ensure that I don’t become a target following reporting a crime?
A. You can specify that you wish telephone follow-up when reporting a crime rather than a visit by EPS officers to your home if the crime is related to a neighbouring or nearby home. You don’t have to provide your identity when reporting a crime through Crime Stoppers.
Q. Some of my neighbours have had their bikes stolen out of their yards and garages even when locked, how can we prevent that?
A. Locking your bikes even when they’re in a locked garage is a good idea. The City has an online Bike Index where you can register the serial number of your bike so if stolen, EPS members can check online when a bike is found in someone else’s possession, charge the person and return your bike. The link to the Bike index is: https://www.edmontonpolice.ca/CrimePrevention/HomePropertySafety/ProtectYourProperty/BikeIndex
Q. You mentioned that criminals will break into vehicles just to steal the garage door opener and the vehicle registration so that they can go the address on the registration and break in, how can that be prevented?
A. If it’s possible to remove both from your car when it’s parked in a public place (e.g. parking lot or on the street) that’s the best. Often vehicles are used by more than one member of the family and that might not be possible so keep your garage door opener out of site and you’re allowed to black out the address on your registration as long as you’re carrying another valid piece of identification.
Q. We see a lot of itinerant camping in our neighbourhoods, what is the EPS role in dealing with them?
A. Itinerant camps are dealt with through City of Edmonton Park Rangers, Peace Officers and the Community Outreach workers. Camps can be reported through 311 either by phone or through the 311 app that allows you to add a photo that automatically includes geographic coordinates of the location. The situation will escalate to the EPS if the situation is deemed to be a threat.
Q. There seems to be a lot of itinerant camping along the paved trail adjacent to the LRT tracks between Stadium Station and downtown, I’ve been harassed when I’ve travelled along the trail, is there anything that the community can do to address the situation?
A. Work together as a community to “Take Back the Space”. If you can get a group of people together and walk along the paved trail and send locations, photos and information about each camp through the 311 app. It helps if multiple people send information in; the priority is raised if a number of people report.
Q. There is an obvious drug house in my neighbourhood, why don’t the EPS members shut it down?
A. Unless the EPS gets reports from neighbours or unless there’s an obvious crime at the location requiring a call for service, the EPS won’t respond. If there’s a drug house nearby your home, report the activity is as much detail as possible to the EPS – include the address, the nature of the activity, identifying information (e.g. licence plate numbers; description of people coming and going) and the times of the occurrence.
Thanks to Constable Holmes and Sargeant Jack for their excellent presentation, discussion and sharing of important information about minimizing crime in Parkdale and Cromdale.