The following articles outline precautions to be taken to help prevent becoming the victim of a crime. By taking a few simple measures and following these crime prevention tips, you can improve your security and limit the opportunity from those who seek to commit crime.
In most cases, the crimes that are committed are “Crimes of Opportunity”. Many of the crime prevention tips are common sense, but they can make a real difference. Please take a moment to review the tips to see if there is something you can do to save yourself the distress and expense of crime.
Don’t make yourself a victim when it might be avoidable. Criminals look for an easy target – if you make yourself, your property, your vehicle and possessions a difficult target they’ll look elsewhere.
Break and Enter
Here are some simple steps that can be taken to help reduce the chances of a possible break and enter:
- Lock all doors when leaving your home (especially for a short time) when retiring for the night, and even when you are home during the day.
- Secure sliding windows and doors. Invest in good security screen doors that allow for ventilation and keep a secure lock – then remember to use the locks daily.
- Check to make sure all louvers and locks are working properly. Replace defective or broken items as soon as possible. A good dead bolt lock is metal-lined, with hinges modified to prevent removal.
- Clear away or trim over grown bushes and shrubs that could be used as hiding places by possible suspects. Outside lighting is the easiest and most obvious deterrent for night time break and enters because criminals do not want to be observed and identified.
- Report any suspicious activity (persons and vehicles) that may be hanging around the area. Record license plate numbers and suspect descriptions when possible.
Remember, thieves like to come in when no one is home. If you interrupt a break and enter, the suspect is as afraid as you are. Keep your cool. Things can always be replaced, YOUR LIFE CANNOT.
Crime Stoppers and the Regina Police Service would like to remind the public of steps to take to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft:
- Do not leave cheques or credit cards in an unattended vehicle or in any public place.
- Balance your cheque book monthly.
- Shred old bills and credit card statements, or any other documents with your personal information on it that you no longer require. Discard shredded statements into different garbage bags so that thieves cannot put the “pieces” back together to get complete information.
- Do not choose any of the following for your PIN (personal identification number):
- Mother’s Maiden Name
- Your Birthday
- The Last Four Digits of Your Social Insurance Number
- Current Address Numbers
- Or any other easily discernable code
- Do not carry your PIN number in your purse or wallet.
- Do not place envelopes with cheques or cash in your curbside mailbox.
- If your mailbox is empty several days in a row, contact the postal service to make sure that a change of address was not filed without your approval.
- Request a copy of your credit report annually to see if any unauthorized requests for credit are listed under your name or social insurance number.
Vehicle Theft / Theft from Vehicles
Motorists need to be aware of the existing problems and take some precautions including the following:
- Never leave keys in the vehicle or ignition.
- Never hide a second set of keys anywhere in your vehicle.
- Never leave your vehicle running – not even in your driveway!
- Always keep windows up and doors locked even when driving.
- Try to park in a busy, well-lit area.
- Remove valuables from your vehicle and place them in the trunk – out of view.
- Copy your licence plate number and vehicle identification number on a piece of paper and keep it with you. If your vehicle is stolen it cannot be entered into the nationwide network without this information.
- Carry your licence and vehicle registration in your wallet. Thieves use these documents to impersonate you.
- Park with front wheels turned sharply, making it difficult to tow away.
- Install a visible anti-theft device like THE CLUB.
Marijuana Grow Operations
What every landlord should know…
The number of marijuana grow operations has increased dramatically, and the primary locations for these illegal operations are in residential rental properties.
The means to prevent a tenant from starting up a grow lab are simple and non-intrusive. By screening prospective tenants and conducting regular inspections of your property, you can decrease the likelihood of a grow operation being set up.
A marijuana grower will not take the chance of losing their investment of equipment and crop if they believe that the landlord is going to check the rental property on a regular basis!
Make it a habit to inspect the outside of your property monthly. If you wish to inspect the interior of the home, give proper notice, as required in The Residential Tenancies Act. If you suspect or discover a grow operation, DO NOT confront your tenant. Contact the police immediately.
Tips for landlords…
- Get to know your neighbours.
- Let them know your property is a rental. Ask them to keep an eye on it and give them your phone number so they can contact you.
- Screen prospective tenants.
- Check and record identification.
- Check their references.
- Make it a requirement of their lease that they must carry tenant’s insurance.
- Advise them verbally and in your lease that you check your property regularly (with proper notice).
- Let them know you have regular contact with neighbours.
- Ask which tenant will be signing for utilities.
- Be there when tenants move in.
- Do not accept cash payments for rent.
- Request that potential tenants volunteer to undergo a criminal record check.
- By asking these questions, you will reduce the chance of a marijuana grower renting your property. It is better to lose a months rent now rather than renting it in haste and putting your investment at risk!
- Check your property at least once every four to five weeks: A simple walk around the exterior of the house is sufficient in most cases to detect signs of a grow lab. If you discover some of the following indicators, contact the police or consider giving notice for a more thorough inspection:
What to look for…
- Homes that do not appear to be lived in (may have little or no furniture in the main living areas), but may have occasional visitors (1 or 2 times weekly) at unusual hours.
- Homes that are lived in, but never have lights on in the majority of basement windows.
- Windows (particularly in basements) that are always dark, boarded up or otherwise blacked out.
- Skunk-like or air-freshener odors in the air, often at the same time each day or night.
- Humming noise or motorized fan noises.
- Discarded potting soil, small plastic “bedding” plant-type pots, one gallon plastic pots.
- Scraps of heavy plastic, 4″ & 6″ dryer hose, cut pieces of garden hose.
- Lawns unkempt compared to neighbouring houses.
A Handy Checklist to Screen Prospective Tenants…
- Checked all references, including past landlords?
- Checked and recorded the identification of the tenants?
- Informed them that you will be doing monthly external inspections?
- Informed them that you reserve the right to do interior inspections with due notice?
- Confirmed exactly who is residing at the premises in addition to the tenant (if anyone)?
- Obtained the tenants signature on a lease agreement, which stipulates that the tenant must carry an insurance policy?
- Informed your neighbours that you are renting the property and have left them a phone number in case of emergency?
- Informed SaskPower that you would like the bill to be in the tenant’s name only?
- Confirmed that you will be personally picking up the rent cheque monthly at the residence? (No cash payments)?
- Obtained an appropriate damage deposit?
With the use of computers and colour printers the production of Counterfeit Money is on the rise. Many of these bills have the same serial number. Business owners are reminded to be extra vigilant in checking bills received as payment.
There are numerous methods that can be used to detect a counterfeit bill. The two basic things are look and feel. If you have another bill of the same denomination, compare them. Compare the size, colouring and feel of the paper. Compare the printed images. If you handle large amounts of money, obtain a list of the security features put into real bills to help determine if they are genuine.
If you suspect you have a Counterfeit bill you should:
- Keep it.
- Record its denomination and serial number.
- Note as many details as you can on the individual who you suspect gave you the bill.
- Contact the police.
If the bill turns out to be genuine, it will be returned to you. If the money is counterfeit there is no recourse to go back and get replacement money from anyone else.
Learn about Counterfeit recognition from the Bank of Canada web site.
- Frauds and Scams
Is it art, or is it vandalism? When graffiti is painted, drawn or scribbled onto private property without permission, it becomes vandalism.
Methods to Prevent Graffiti Vandalism:
- A clear coating that makes graffiti easy to remove
- Murals for building exteriors (graffiti vandals often won’t paint over these)
- Security lighting and cameras