Burglars ‘changing tactics’, says Linda Annis

Thieves are changing tactics, says Linda Annis.

Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, hosted a media event in Cloverdale on June 23 to highlight tips for preventing crime as the summer vacation season begins.

Annis, who is also a Surrey councillor, said that because many people have alarms and video cameras, “the crooks are adapting”. She said thieves are now stealing things outside the house and also searching cars.

“The police tell us that the use of garage door openers is the most important,” Annis said. “Just a few years ago, the main thing was to warn homeowners how to keep thieves out of doors and windows, but affordable security alarms and video equipment are starting to change that for the better.”

Despite this, Annis said owners still forget “simple things” like remembering to lock their car doors. This allows burglars to snatch garage door openers and enter homes through the garage, possibly also finding interior doors unlocked.

“There’s no need to break windows or door locks in your house if they can just roll up your garage door,” she explained. “If the door leading from the garage to your house is not locked, you have just asked the burglars to ‘come in’. And don’t leave a spare key under a flowerpot either. Everyone knows this one.

Annis also said don’t leave anything outside your home, whether you’re home or not. She added that leaving a ladder lying around is a “big no-no” because thieves can use it to get into unlocked second-story windows.

“Ensuring we put things away outside the house gives us a chance to take preventative action.”

Annis also reminded the audience that Crime Stoppers is an important tool to help stop crime. She said while video cameras and alarm systems are helpful, they can give a false sense of security which can lead to complacency.

“See something, say something,” she says. “Scammers don’t go on vacation. If you see anything out of the ordinary in your neighborhood, call the police immediately. Or, if you know who’s behind burglaries on your street, submit an anonymous report to Crime Stoppers. Your tip could result in an arrest and possibly a reward of up to $5,000.

As well as giving general advice, Annis offered her ‘9 to 9’ checklist to help prevent crime (see below).

Annis’ nine common sense things to check every night at 9 p.m.

1. Remove everything from inside your car – from valuables and garage door openers to empty bottles and spare change.

2. Close the car windows tightly and lock all the doors.

3. Make sure all garage doors are closed and locked, including the interior door that leads from the garage to your house.

4. Lock ladders, bikes and even garden equipment.

5. Close and lock all doors and windows in your home, even if it’s hot.

6. Set the alarm and check your video security equipment – can you see your front door activity on your phone app?

7. Leave the porch light on overnight, so your front door isn’t hidden in the dark.

8. Make sure boxes from line deliveries are quickly picked up from your front step.

9. Ask a neighbor to pick up newspapers and flyers from your doorstep while you’re away – a pile of papers on the doorstep says, “Nobody’s home.”

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