Neighbourhood Watch Bulletin for 2020-05-04

This week’s topics:

  • Secure your bike with 529 Garage.
  • Operation Overwatch – Speeding.
  • Keep your car safe from theft.

If you’re interested in helping out, see our Neighbourhood Watch Page.

– Alex

—– Forwarded Message —–
Subject: Neighbourhood Watch Bulletin for May 4, 2020
Date: Mon, 4 May 2020 13:18:09 -0400
From: Darren Joseph <>

1.  Secure your bike with 529 Garage

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) is warning residents to take extra precautions to secure their bikes from thefts and register with 529 Garage.

In 2020, we have received 83 bike theft reports to-date, compared to 42 at this time last year. This is due, in part, to: an increase in a series of reported break-ins at highrise apartment buildings and garages across the city; and crimes of opportunity as the temperature rises and people start to go outside more. We have also observed there has generally been a steady increase in reports of bike thefts across the city in the past few years.

The OPS and its partners, Bike Ottawa and Safer Roads Ottawa, are also renewing our commitment to 529 Garage and encouraging cyclists to register their bikes. This program is easy to sign up to through the app or online.  It can help police locate a stolen bike sooner. The app was launched in May 2019 in Ottawa and to date, over 4,000 residents have registered and 23 bikes have been recovered and returned to their rightful owners.

Simple things like investing in a durable lock, or putting your bike away in a locked shed or garage, will go a long way to keeping it safe from thefts. Residents living in high rise apartments and condominiums should store their bike in designated secured enclosures, and all riders should choose bikes racks that offer high visibility and foot traffic or surveillance.

For more information about 529 Garage, please visit During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still register your bike and be enrolled in the program, but we ask that you collect your sticker at a later date. While the sticker offers a secondary serial number to verify ownership of the bike and acts as a visual deterrent, it is not necessary to complete the registration.

As the weather starts getting warmer, more residents in Ottawa will take advantage and get out of the house and go for a bike ride. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but we are asking riders to still be mindful of physical distancing public health guidelines.

Looking for more detailed bike theft data? You can now access five years of data through Open Data Ottawa. The information provides details on bike theft incidents. For privacy reasons, each point has been geo-masked to the nearest intersection within the neighbourhood where the bike was reported stolen. Key incident details are included in the dataset, such as: date, time of day, day of week, make, model, colour, reported value, and speed. This information will be updated annually to provide residents with information that will help collaborate on solutions to prevent bike theft in Ottawa.

The release of Bike Theft data through Open Data Ottawa is part of our commitment to improve access to public safety data. In addition to this data, Criminal Code of Canada offence data is also available at the neighbourhood level through

2.  “Operation Overwatch”

Our quieter city streets with the reality of COVID-19 have seen an increase in speeding infractions and related complaints to police. This week, the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) is launching a three-month speed enforcement campaign called “Operation Overwatch”.

“Our officers are stopping drivers and riders traveling 30km to 50km/hr over the posted speed limit far too often, at a time when we want to minimize the burden for frontline emergency personnel and medical professionals,” says Staff Sergeant Marc-Andre Sheehy, head of the OPS Traffic Services Unit. “For everyone’s safety, speed limits apply no matter the number of vehicles on the roadway. It’s fair to say that any form of Stunt Driving or Street Racing will be dealt with accordingly.”

Operation Overwatch will have frontline officers watching for lead-footed drivers putting themselves and other road users at serious risk.

“It’s not only a safety issue, it’s a quality of life issue. No road user should feel like they’re risking their life on account of a handful of irresponsible drivers ignoring speed limits on our streets day and night,” said Sgt. Craig Roberts, OPS Traffic Case Manager.

In April, 19 drivers were cited for speeding. One driver was clocked at 163 km/hr in a 100 km/hr zone and another was stopped for 112 km/hr in a 60 km/hr zone.

Patrol Officers from the Central, East and West Divisions continue to address all road safety issues, but with an added focus on speeding.

“We need all of our emergency and medical personnel focused on the public health crisis our city is facing rather than further taxing our resources with completely avoidable incidents resulting from Stunt Driving and/or Street Racing,” said Sgt. Mark Gatien of the OPS Traffic Unit. “Don’t wait until you hurt yourself, someone else or get a ticket to adopt safe driving habits. Every time you get behind the wheel, make safe driving your priority.”

Under the Highway Traffic Act, Stunt Driving (+50km/hr over the posted speed limit) lead to licence suspension, vehicle impoundment and a court date. Upon conviction, first-time offending drivers/riders face a minimum $2000 fine.

3.  Keep your car safe from theft

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.