Neighbourhood Watch Bulletin for 2020-07-27

This week’s topics:

  • Tips for preventing the theft of your vehicle — beware of signal amplification devices.
  • Ottawa Police Service 2019 Annual Report.


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

– Alex

—– Forwarded Message —–
Subject: Neighbourhood Watch Bulletin for July 27, 2020
Date: Mon, 27 Jul 2020 12:40:55 -0400
From: Darren Joseph <wellingtoncpc@gmail.com>

1.  Tips for preventing the theft of your vehicle — beware of signal amplification devices

The Ottawa Police Service recently noticed a 42 Division of Toronto Police Service public advisory about a number of overnight vehicle thefts from driveways occurring in Toronto, where vehicles with a keyless entry system or FOB system are being targeted.

In these most recent thefts, the thieves are using a signal amplification device.

How this device works:

It is believed that thieves stand near the front door of a house, holding a device that captures the signal emitted from the keyless FOB. This device is the radio frequency amplifier that will increase the signal range of the keyless FOB.

A second person stands near the vehicle and receives the signal from the device, unlocking the vehicle. The radio frequency amplifier can also be used to start the vehicle (see photo courtesy of Toronto Police).

Please see the Toronto Police posting of a Caledon OPP security video of such a device being used.

Our 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 (RFS), commonly known as ‘Faraday pouch’.  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 proactive tips to help you protect your vehicle:

  • Consider using anti-theft devices such as car alarms, steering wheel locking devices such as “The Club”, and electronic immobilizer devices; all can act as a strong deterrent!
  • GPS tracking units have become increasingly popular and some 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.
  • If possible park your vehicle in a locked garage and or block it in tightly with a second vehicle.
  • Putting security lighting and video surveillance cameras on your home may discourage thieves.
  • Do not leave the vehicle running while unattended.
  • If you are selling your vehicle, be wary not to let anyone have access to your car keys or your vehicle out of your sight. This prevents a thief from copying your key during a “test drive” so they can return later to steal it.

Finally, good old-fashioned neighbourhood watch. If you see something suspicious, do not engage the suspected thieves, call 911, and be vigilant!

Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or at crimestoppers.ca.

2.  Ottawa Police Service 2019 Annual Report

Today, the Ottawa Police Service’s (OPS) 2019 Annual Report was released as part of the July 27, 2020 meeting of the Ottawa Police Services Board agenda.

“The annual report is a story about the Ottawa Police’s commitment to continuous improvement and making meaningful, needed change; about a police service that continues to demonstrate a willingness and ability to adapt to the constantly and, in some cases, exponentially shifting societal landscape to ensure that we are able to effectively, equitably and ethically serve all the people of this city while providing a healthy, safe and rewarding workplace for all of our members,” said Chief Peter Sloly.

The 2019 Annual Report offers residents information about Criminal Code of Canada (CCC) offences for the City of Ottawa and 23 City Wards. The information provides residents and visitors with a better understanding of crime, road safety, and calls for service in Ottawa.

Here are some highlights from the report:

  • With approximately 43,000 reported Criminal Code of Canada offences (excluding traffic) in the City of Ottawa, the level of reported crime increased by 10 percent last year.
  • The clearance rate for total Criminal Code offences (excluding traffic) fell by 1 percentage point in 2019,with 34% of all cases cleared by charge or cleared otherwise.
  • Ottawa’s Crime Severity Index (CSI) rose by 6 percent last year to 57 points – the Violent Crime CSI increasedby 3 percent to 67 points; while the Non-Violent crime CSI increased by 8 percent to 54 points.
  • The volume of reported Violent Crime in Ottawa increased by 10 percent, driven by a growing number of threats uttered to a person (+25%), robberies (+19%), and assaults (+9%).
  • There were 13 homicides in the City of Ottawa, down from two from the previous year.
  • The number of shootings was in line with historical results, with just over 70 incidents last year.
  • Ottawa Police members seized nearly 90 crime guns in 2019 as a result of investigative and proactive work to address street violence in our community, compared to nearly 70 in 2018.
  • Non-violent crimes (Property Crime) in Ottawa also rose by 10 percent last year, driven primarily by theft under $5,000 (+13%) and fraud (+20%).
  • With the growing number of thefts, OPS members worked closely with partners to host a Retail Theft Conference to identify strategies to address this growing problem.
  • Despite the increase in property offences, the number of break and enters city-wide declined by 9 percent, with 32 percent of all cases cleared (an 8 percent improvement).
  • Of 709,000 calls received last year, 345,800 were entered into the OPS dispatch system, with 71 percent requiring an on-scene police presence. This is in line with results from the prior year.
  • With a 10% increase, police officers generated over 90,000 calls in 2019 through on-view or proactive work to address crimes in progress, community well-being or safety concerns.

“In the winter of 2019, I concluded an intense process of internal and external stakeholder consultations, along with a series of strategic planning sessions, to identify 2020 opportunities for major investments to advance and accelerate Board’s Modernization priority for the Service,” said Chief Sloly.

This process resulted directly in the following accomplishments:

  1. January 2020 – the Board approved an Accelerated Hiring Plan to increase the quality, capacity and diversity of the OPS’ workforce;
  2. February 2020 – the Board approved an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan to plan to fully and effectively implement previous report recommendations;
  3. March 2020 – the Board partnered with the OPS on an initiative to reduce sexual violence and harassment in the workplace, to speed up internal resolution of complaints and to establish appropriate procedures for preventing and reducing harm.
  4. April 2020 – the OPS launched its Respect, Values and Inclusion Directorate, composed of the EDI Section and the Respect, Ethics and Values Section, to help improve in areas of workplace harassment, discrimination, human rights issues, ethics, diversity and inclusion.
  5. May 2020 – the OPS deployed its fourth Neighbourhood Resource Team (NRT) in the ByWard Market to develop and maintain effective relationships, and collaborate with community leaders to identify and address issues of criminality and social disorder in Lowertown, Sandy Hill and the ByWard Market.

“We are listening, we are learning, we are responding and we are changing.  We all know that any change is difficult – it is especially challenging in a police organization. That said, my command team and I, along with the vast majority of our members, are committed to making those changes,” said Chief Sloly.  “We accomplished a lot in 2019. There is a lot more work to do in 2020.  We can all accomplish it together.”

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Contact Cst. Darren Joseph directly (west of O-Train, Line 2) at josephd@ottawapolice.ca

Contact Cst. Stephanie Lemieux directly (east of O-Train, Line 2) at lemieuxs@ottawapolice.ca

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