Neighbourhood Watch Bulletin for 2021-02-17

This week’s topics:

  • Ongoing high-end vehicle thefts.
  • Officers recover stolen break-in items thanks to Community Partners, technology and quick reporting.
  • Neighbourhood Resource Teams helping to problem-solve

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

– Alex

—– Forwarded Message —–
Subject: Neighbourhood Watch Bulletin for February 17, 2021 [and some articles from last week]
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2021 09:41:55 -0500
From: Darren Joseph <wellingtoncpc@gmail.com>

Ongoing high-end vehicle thefts

The Ottawa Police reminds the community that the risk of thefts, and repeat thefts, of high-end Lexus and Toyota vehicles in Ottawa remains present, particularly with Tacoma and Highlander.

There have been 5 luxury vehicle thefts in Kanata (Bridlewood area) in a single overnight. There have been multiple vehicles stolen recently in the Crystal beach and Orleans areas as well. There is no suspect description available at this time.

The Ottawa Police have received over 200 reports of newer model Lexus/Toyota SUVs and Tacomas over the course of 2020 and a further 35 so far this year. Investigators are asking that any Toyota/Lexus SUV or Tacoma owners who notice damage to the driver’s door handle file an information report online. This will assist in identifying the scope of the problem and help direct proactive efforts to the right neighborhoods.

Anyone with information about any of the vehicle thefts is asked to call the Ottawa Police Central Criminal Investigations Section at 613-236-1222 ext. 4127. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or at crimestoppers.ca.

Investigators would like to advise the public that previously targeted addresses have been repeatedly targeted on multiple occasions, with that in mind we would like to 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-market electronic immobilizer device, 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 indication that your car has been targeted.
  • Consider protecting your vehicle with such devices 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 (RFS 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.

Officers recover stolen break-in items thanks to Community Partners, technology and quick reporting

Three residents sharing a home in downtown Ottawa have their belongings back, thanks to reporting a break-in to police immediately, giving officers a chance to get help from Community Partners to locate a suspect and a device-tracking mobile app to trace the stolen items.

On January 21, one of the home occupants heard noises of someone moving around in the house. Thinking it was a roommate, she didn’t investigate, only to discover a short time later, a break-in had occurred, and electronic devices and other personal items were missing.

She called police immediately. When Csts. Sam Raffa and Jimmy Fang arrived, they learned the stolen lap top could be traced through a tracking application.

The officers got some help from Ottawa Community Housing, enabling them to identify the suspect through security footage. Within a few short hours, a suspect was arrested and the stolen property recovered.

“Definitely the quick reporting made a difference in the outcome of this investigation. The suspect didn’t have time to do anything with the stolen items,” said Cst. Raffa.

“As police officers, we use whatever leads we can,” said Cst. Fung. “Even though in this case we could track the electronics, being able to get security footage from Community Housing was a big help in identifying our suspect and making an arrest.”

Cst. Raffa and Cst. Fang offer these safety tips to reduce your chance of being a victim of a break-in:

  • Lock your doors, even when you are home, to prevent crimes of opportunity
  • Connect your devices to tracking apps
  • Call police immediately if you see any suspicious activity in your neighbourhood or are the victim of a crime
  • Never attempt to retrieve a stolen device on your own; call police
  • If you live with roommates, establish a system to identify yourselves to each other when you come in or go out
  • Avoid leaving valuables, including car keys, in plain sight near the entrance of your home.

For more home security tips, go to ottawapolice.ca.

Neighbourhood Resource Teams helping to problem-solve

Since the start-up of Neighbourhood Resource Teams (NRT) in 2019, which assigns officers to specific neighbourhoods, the members have come to know residents on a first name basis. Knowing their stories means they can help – be it with problem-solving or accessing resources to improve their lives.

After two years of living in a west-end family shelter with one bedroom, a mini fridge and only a microwave to prepare meals, a woman learned a townhouse would be available in January for herself and her two kids, both under the age of ten and one with special needs.  Her immediate challenge now was finding furniture.

That’s when the west-end NRT and the City of Ottawa’s Integrated Services Neighbourhood Team (ISNT) stepped in.

Cst. Paddye Magill had a contact with Mattress Mart and she arranged for the donation of three new beds, complete with mattress, box spring, frame and headboard.

Other members found gently used living room and dining room furniture and household supplies. ISNT members went into the house to repair the walls, riddled with nails needing removal.

“I am so grateful for everything you have helped me and my children with. May you and your team and families be blessed. Thank you so much,” said the woman, who needs to protect her anonymity so no one from her past can find her.  “I am healing because of your relentless police work. You didn’t know me when I met you. You have something. Now I am open and healing because of you so thank you for that.”

Now that the family is living in another part of the city, the west-end NRT officers introduced them to the team working in their new neighbourhood.

“You and your friends have helped me so much, it means a lot. This is the missing piece…support,” she said.

The woman is getting help through ISNT to access employment services. She is hoping to get a job in the same field in which she worked in the country she immigrated from.

Over the past 15 months, officers have seen first-hand the positive impact of neighbourhood policing.

“We have been able to build trust and recognize the needs of the people we serve,” says Cst. Magill, known simply as Paddye in the community. “Through a collective effort with our city partners, we have successfully collaborated to assist all those that live in our neighourhood. Familiarity builds trust. We take pride in these relationships and will continue to work toward making our neighbourhood a safe and happy place to live.”

Currently there are six Neighbourhood Resource Teams, with plans to expand into more communities in 2021.

Read this news update on our website

**************************
Contact Cst. Darren Joseph directly (west of O-Train, Line 2) at josephd@ottawapolice.ca or 613-236-1222, ext. 5871.

Contact Cst. Stephanie Lemieux directly (east of O-Train, Line 2) at lemieuxs@ottawapolice.ca or 613-236-1222, ext. 5287.

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