Mitigate break-ins at your home

By James Hamm

Winnipeg Police Services Crime Prevention

When we started to write this column, we thought this is the perfect time of year for folks to think about the small steps they can take in and around their home to discourage criminals from invading your space.

We’re all itching to get outside, but at the same time adhere to calls for social distancing.

As luck would have it, I bumped into a long-serving sergeant in our Central Division who happens to be formally trained in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (we simply call it CPTED).

CPTED (pronounced sep-ted) is the science around the design and effective use of physical space to lead to a reduction in both the incidence and fear of crime. CPTED seeks to reduce both opportunity and the number of targets for criminals by having citizens and businesses by discouraging criminals from targeting your property through:

• access control
• surveillance
• territorial reinforcement
• maintenance

This means ensuring you have locks in place, windows and doors are secure, fencing in place, you’re using cameras and lighting effectively, and the shrubs and trees around your home are trimmed to allow clear sightlines.

Sound like a lot of work? It’s not. CEPTED can be very complicated for a large business or estate, but it can also be simple people like you and I. We’ve attached a cheat sheet of sorts that identifies some of the things you can do to “crime proof” your home. 

Now, the sergeant I mentioned will be mad at me for using the phrase “crime proof.” The reality is that NOTHING is crime proof. I will also leave you with these parting words from Charles as I left his Division. A term we often use is ‘Target Hardening’.

“People need to remember, these are all just steps you can take limit or prevent crime, but unto themselves, they can only be so useful. We need people to be mindful of their surroundings, their properties and their neighbourhoods. And if they see something that doesn’t seem right – someone in a yard where they shouldn’t be, for example – they need to call someone so it can be followed up on.” 

Crime Prevention starts with you, and it’s a continuous effort. 

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