Is your property safe? Salmon Arm RCMP staff sergeant offers tips to foil thieves

Some residents are missing an important step in protecting their homes

It might seem obvious, but it bears repeating, says Staff Sgt. Scott West.

“When it comes to home safety or vehicle safety…. it’s always good to lock things.

“The locking of doors and windows goes a long way to keeping people out of your houses. As does the installation of motion lights. People that are operating under the cover of darkness don’t like to be lit up, whether it’s by us or the motion light on your back doorstep,” said West, addressing a recent meeting of city council.

He says although motion lights can be a pain if they turn on when the trees move, they can be set accordingly.

One of his neighbours has a doorbell camera. West likes this idea, particularly because some criminals will ring the doorbell to see if anyone is home. When they do that, the camera takes their photo. Then they’ll walk away and watch. If there’s no movement, they’ll come back and kick in the door.

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He also stresses the importance of reporting crimes to police.

“We don’t know if there’s a crime trend if no one reports it to us.”

As for property in your yard, lock it up.

Maybe you have a snowmobile that you only use three or four times a year sitting outside on a trailer. Take a wheel off the trailer and put it up on blocks, says West. And lock up the snowmobile. Or at least cover it.

He also recommends locking vehicle doors. West says he understands the rationale of not locking them so thieves don’t break a window to get in, and advises don’t leave valuables in the vehicle.

“Don’t leave your wallet, cellphone and laptop in the car because that’s oftentimes what happens. Take your belongings out of the car into the house and include in that your garage door opener. Because if they do come back, they might empty your garage of all the things I’ve just told you to keep out of sight.”

West emphasizes that one individual preventing or reporting a crime is good for the whole community.

“If you can secure everything reasonably well you’re going to dissuade those criminals from roaming through our community and victimizing everybody they possibly can.”

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