Sometimes the best steps to crime prevention is in knowing what to look for.
That’s one of the key messages Kerry Sauve, owner of Street Sense Safety, hopes to get across to folks he speaks with. Sauve spent a few hours April 18 at St. Augustine Catholic School speaking to folks interested in keeping their property safe. The event was sponsored by Ponoka Rural Crime Watch.
With the rise of property crimes in recent years Sauve’s message was clear and to the point but it was couched with personal experience as a correctional officer in a maximum security prison. Making things difficult for criminals, what Sauve calls ‘target hardening’ is an important part of crime prevention.
“Just because it hasn’t happened to you doesn’t mean your not at risk,” said Sauve.
The trick, he explained, is to think like a criminal and the easiest ways to break into one’s own home.
From plants with thorns at the window to lights and music on in the house when going on vacation, criminals are less-likely to attempt a break-in with these types of hindrances. For rural home owners, he recommends using Google Earth to look at all potential exits and entrances onto their property.
When there’s a boom in the economy gangs converge on the area to get some market share of the cash influx. Drugs and prostitution, especially that of underage girls, are a big money maker for gangs. As for the drugs, fentanyl is what’s in style, but it’s also deadly.
It’s extremely cheap to make fentanyl. “It takes about one 60th of the price to produce fentanyl as it does to produce heroine or cocaine.”
Since one doesn’t have to transport the drug like the other two, it can be made right in someone’s home.
In keeping with crime prevention Sauve recommends disabling location services on smart phones until when needed. The key to crime prevention is also to realize that there is nothing, except family and children, that is worth getting hurt over in a robbery situation.
“There’s nothing in my home I’d be willing to die for unless it’s my family,” he stated.
Another relatively inexpensive crime prevention tool is to put three-inch drywall screws into the door frame rather than the small ones supplied. Plus, using a doubt T deadbolt, which needs a key to open from the inside can help reduce attempts to enter a home.
Another great tool to prevent crime? Dogs. “Dogs are probably one of the best ways to prevent a person coming into your house,” said Sauve.
He recommends being aware of one’s surroundings and paying attention to suspicious vehicles (write down the licence plate number) or individuals not normally seen in the area.
Sauve pointed out that he once got into a situation with a person carrying a knife; 200 stitches later he says it was not worth it. For those culprits getting themselves into criminal activity, there is no telling what they will do to get out of being caught. His advice if put into a dangerous situation: be polite, be professional and have a plan to deal with different events.
When it comes to explaining a situation to children, Sauve recommends teaching them how to be critical thinkers. Give them scenarios and teach them to run to safety, rather than run away from danger. “Your safety plan has to be something simple.”
If it’s too complicated then nobody will remember all its details. Sauve advises practicing drills or scenarios to give kids and family members a sense of readiness.
Another way to ensure suspects get caught is with surveillance systems, but in the case of trail cams, Sauve advises keeping them in hard-to-see spots. Digital equipment is hackable and ensuring it is password protected is an important part of home safety.
He reiterated that making it tough to break into a home with a variety of tools is the way to go.
“Do we see the coyotes stalking the great big healthy bull or do they go after the small, sick calf?” he asked.
“The smart predator is always going to go for the easy kill.”
By creating hindrances to breaking into a person’s home and property, the chances of a break and enter scenario are reduced. “What’s really going to stop crime in our community is you guys looking out for each other,” added Sauve.
He pointed out that there is also a societal issue with criminal activity, one that adding more police to the problem won’t actually solve.