Crime Prevention Town Hall
Residents Learn Tips for Crime Prevention
By: Colleen Ramalheiro
On Wednesday, November 15, Ward 10 Councillor Sue McFadden hosted a crime prevention town hall meeting at the Churchill Meadows Activity Centre. Peel Crimestoppers, Safe City Mississauga, Mississauga Security, Peel Regional Police as well as special guest, Police Chief Jennifer Evans, all shared important crime prevention information with residents. As a resident and a homeowner, there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself, your family and your property.
Do you have a neighbourhood watch on your street? A recent study has shown that this program, where neighbours look out for one another, can reduce crime by 61%. If you would like to start a neighbourhood watch in your area, go to http://safecitymississauga.on.ca/programs/neighbourhood-watch/ to learn the steps you will need to take. You will be asked to canvass your neighbours to collect contact information. Once you have at least 50% of your neighbours on board, arrangements will be made for you all to attend an hour-long information session. Not only will this make your street safer, but it is a great way to get to know your neighbours.
Break and Enters remain of concern for Churchill Meadows residents. There are measures you can take to make your property more secure. More than 50% of break-ins come in through the front door. It is common for builders to install doors with screws that are typically less than one inch. Simply replacing these screws with longer ones, 2 ½ to 3 ½ inches, will make your door less prone to being kicked in.
Can you see your front door or windows from the street? Bushes and trees that obscure these points of entry make your home more attractive to burglars. Trim or remove landscaping to maintain clear sight lines. Ensure that your home looks lived in, even when you are away. Arrange to have snow cleared and mail picked up. Have lights on a timer – or even better, invest in lights that can be turned on and off with an app on your smart phone.
Most burglars do not want to encounter the homeowner, so they knock first to see if anyone is home. For this reason, people are advised to always answer the door. This does not mean that you always have to open the door. You can speak through the door. The key is to let would-be thieves know someone is at home. When you are not at home, you can use new technology to trick thieves. Products like the Ring doorbell are particularly useful. These doorbells have a motion activated camera that starts recording when someone approaches the door. Even if you are not home, you can see who is at your door and speak with them in real time using an app on your phone. For more tips visit https://www.peelpolice.ca/en/crimeprevention.asp.
All of the speakers at the Crime Prevention town hall, from the chief of Police to the City of Mississauga Security, emphasized how important it was for the public to report any suspicious activity. Anything that seems out of place on your street could be suspicious, like a stranger sitting in a parked car for a long time or someone knocking on doors to see who is home. Often, people feel hesitant to call; however, it is better to error on the side of caution. The police don’t mind – you are not wasting their time! Information from the public can be used to solve crimes or prevent future crimes. So, if you “see something, say something”.
November 15th’s Crime Prevention town hall meeting provided residents with a wealth of information. By taking steps as individuals and by working as a community, we can help keep Churchill Meadows a great neighbourhood and a safe place to live.