Lethbridge Police are reporting a significant increase in break and enters in the city but a number of the incidents may have been preventable.
In 2019, from January to July, police data shows break and enters – residential and commercial – increased by 22 per cent compared to the same period last year. On average there were approximately 78 break and enters per month and the areas most targeted were the Westminster, Downtown and London Road neighbourhoods along with Churchill Industrial Park.
Nearly half of the reported residential break and enters were to garages where the points of entry were man doors or the overhead door. In 38 per cent of the cases where culprits gained entry through the man door it was left unlocked. In 71 per cent of cases where entry was gained via the overhead door, it was found to have been left open. Further, in 29 per cent of cases where the front door of a home was the point of entry, it was also left unlocked.
Property crime is largely a crime of opportunity and while there are no measures that can completely prevent a break and enter, taking steps to safeguard property will significantly reduce the risk.
First and foremost, always ensure doors to your home and garage are locked at all times – even if you are home or working in your yard – and do not leave overhead garage doors open.
Avoid leaving valuables – tools, bicycles, etc. – unattended within plain view of the street and do not leave any items inside your vehicle, including garage door openers which are commonly stolen and then used to gain access to a property.
Recording serial numbers, marking tools and photographing items is also recommended as it may assist police in returning property in the event it is stolen and later recovered.
Locking gates, sheds and deck boxes will make accessmore difficult for would-be thieves.
The addition of security camerasand motion-sensor lights may help act as a deterrent.
Becoming familiar with your neighbours and the regular activities of your neighbourhood can also be invaluable in recognizing when something is out of the ordinary; for example, a suspicious person or an unfamiliar vehicle driving around.
Report suspicious activity to police at the time of the incident. Call 911 for an emergency or crime in progress or 403-328-4444 for non-emergencies.
The Lethbridge Police Service uses a data-driven approach to help guide operations, which makes reporting suspicious activity critical in order to ensure police know where crimes are occurring so resources can be effectively deployed in an effort to target problem areas. In addition to frontline patrol officers, the LPS Priority Crimes Unit consists of a team of officers who are dedicated to investigating property crime and monitoring high risk offenders.
**Staff Sgt. Jason Walper, who oversees the Criminal Investigation Section, will be available for media interviews today at 1 p.m. at the police station. This will be the only opportunity for on-camera interviews**