This week’s topics:
- Tips for parents to monitor children’s online activities.
- Missing 15-year-old.
- Support available for survivors of human trafficking during COVID-19.
- Tips to protect your car from thieves.
If you’re interested in helping out, see our Neighbourhood Watch Page.
—– Forwarded Message —–
Subject: Neighbourhood Watch Bulletin for April 27, 2020
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2020 18:07:03 -0400
From: Darren Joseph <firstname.lastname@example.org>
1. Tips for parents to monitor children’s online activities
The Ottawa Police Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit would like to remind parents and guardians of the importance of monitoring children’s online activities.
With the pandemic, we know that kids are at home with more time on their hands, some of which is spent online. Within the last week, our partners in the RCMP and other organizations have notified Police Services across the country of an increase in young person posting images and videos on sites that could unknowingly lead to their exploitation by online predators.
When the Ottawa Police Service is notified of a situation like this, our Internet Child Exploitation team immediately attempts to identify these children as quickly as possible and to reach out to their parents.
In light of this increase we would like to provide a few tips to help monitor kids’ online activities:
- Don’t underestimate your children’s technical knowledge of the internet and social media sites.
- If you have limited knowledge of a program/tool they use, ask your kids to show you how it works.
- Review your kids’ social media “friends” – ask questions like who they are, where they live and how they know them. If they can’t answer those basic questions, they should be removed from their “friends” list.
- Ask your kids for their online passwords and do sporadic checks (E-mails, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.)
Empowering children with knowledge about personal safety and boundaries can help reduce their risk of victimization. Research shows that offenders are less likely to target children who present a risk of telling.
More information on what parents need to be aware of and what parents can do is available online with Cybertip!ca from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
2. Missing 15-year-old
The Ottawa Police Service Missing Persons Section is asking for public assistance to locate missing 15 year old Iliane Leblanc, of Ottawa. She was last seen on Friday April 10, 2020 in the area of Tulip Tree Way. There are concerns for her safety.
Iliane is described as a Caucasian girl, approximately 5’0” (152cm), medium build, with long curly black hair. Iliane has a nose piercing. There is no clothing description for Iliane.
Anyone with information about the current whereabouts of Iliane is asked to call the Ottawa Police at 613-236-1222.
If you have information that could assist investigators, but do not know where she is currently, please contact the Missing Persons Unit 613-236-1222, ext. 2355, between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, daily.
Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477, or crimestoppers.ca.
3. Support available for survivors of human trafficking during COVID-19
The Ottawa Police would like to remind the public that in these difficult times of physical distancing and social isolation, our Human Trafficking Unit (HT) is actively working with internal and external partners to devise safety plans and exit strategies for survivors and sex trade workers, based on their personal needs and requirements.
“Our HT Unit continues to tailor its response to facilitate assistance to all persons being exploited,” said Sgt. Damien Laflamme who heads the specialized unit. “We are aware that during this pandemic, access to emotional and crisis support can be difficult. Our in-house HT Victim Support Specialist and our investigators are here to listen and provide assistance to anyone reaching out for help.”
The HT Unit works with various local and municipal stakeholders to provide the best services and supports possible to anyone in need and provide straightforward and manageable solutions and options to survivors and sex trade workers.
We invite the public to call the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010 which remains open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Ottawa Police Human Trafficking Unit can be reached at 613-236-1222, ext. 5005 or 1-800-292-1168. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or at crimestoppers.ca.
4. Tips to protect your car from thieves
The Ottawa Police continues to be concerned with risk of thefts of high-end Lexus and Toyota vehicles in Ottawa, particularly larger SUVs, 4 Runner and Tacoma. Since April 19th there have been five Lexus vehicles stolen in Ottawa; three have been recovered.
We remind car owners of the following tips to protect their vehicle:
- Make your vehicle less vulnerable to theft by parking it in a locked garage and or by blocking it in tightly with a second vehicle. Exterior lighting and video surveillance around the driveway can also serve as a deterrent.
- Consider installing an after marker electronic immobilizer devices which can interfere with the starting of the vehicle.
- Be vigilant that there is no damage to the door locks mechanisms as this could be an indicator that your car has been targeted.
- Consider protecting your vehicle with devices such as car alarms or steering wheel locking devices such as “The Club”.
- GPS tracking devices have become increasingly popular. Some even allow the vehicle owner to electronically “fence-in” their vehicle whereby an alarm cue would occur if the vehicle were to leave the fenced-in area without authorization.
- Locks to restrict access to the on-board diagnostic plug exist and when applied can impede a thief from re-programming a key.
- If you are selling your vehicle, be wary not to let anyone have access to your car keys and do not let your vehicle out of your sight. This prevents a thief from copying your key during a “test drive” so they can return to steal it.
- Finally, good old fashioned neighbourhood watch is a great deterrent. Be vigilant and call 911 to report any suspicious vehicles in your neighbourhood. Most thefts occur between midnight and 5am in the morning.
Investigators have not yet seen the use of signal amplifiers in Ottawa. In the event that this technology makes its way to Ottawa, a simple line of defense is to consider keeping any vehicle with a proximity key fob inside a radio frequency shield device (RSF device). This will prevent the key fob’s signal from being amplified to the vehicle from inside the house protecting it from being driven away.
More safety tips are available online.