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November is National Community Safety and Crime Prevention Month, and the Canada Safety Council wants to ask Canadians: what are you doing to keep your community safe?

A community is an important bond – it’s a group of individuals with shared attitudes, interests and goals. One of the most important communities you’ll be a part of, from a safety perspective, is your neighbourhood community.  After all, your neighbours are the ones who are best placed to see if something out of the ordinary is happening at your home.

row of houses in canada

Getting to know your neighbours will make it easier to spot suspicious activity – a stranger at your door, window or backyard; an unusual car in the driveway; and any kind of unusual activity that could be cause for concern. Building trust and fostering a sense of community among those who live near you will help keep you and your community strong and safe.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind regarding neighbourhood supervision and keeping your home safe:

  • Introduce yourself to neighbours. Even if you’ve lived in a neighbourhood for years, it’s never too late to get to know the people living around you. They could be important allies in protecting you from nefarious activity.
  • Ensure that your home is well lit. A home that’s hidden in the darkness and away from lights is an easier target for would-be thieves who can operate in the darkness without risk of being seen.
  • Outfit your doors with good, sturdy locks, making sure to keep them locked at all times and especially when your home is unoccupied. Obviously, you don’t need to cage up your doors and windows like a prison – your house should be a home, not a fortress. At the same time, a secure and sturdy lock will make break-ins more difficult.
  • Keep an eye out for anything unusual. This can include an unfamiliar vehicle passing the same house many times, someone taking a shortcut through a neighbour’s backyard, a garage door that’s accidentally been left open or newspapers piling up on a neighbour’s doorstep.
  • Consider organizing an official Neighbourhood Watch in your community. Contact your local Community Police Centre who will be able to provide you with start-up assistance and resources. They will also be able to provide you with signage to post in windows and lawns advertising a community watch. These can be effective deterrents against potential criminals.
  • Do not use this as an opportunity to be a busybody or a vigilante. Keeping an eye on your neighbourhood does not mean spying on your neighbours, taking the law into your own hands or attempting to apprehend or detain a suspect yourself.
  • Do be prepared to act. Use your judgment in reporting suspicious activity to the non-emergency local police. Supervise any potential suspicious activity and make a second call to the emergency line if appropriate. These usually include burglary, assault, fire, gunshots, a person with a weapon, robbery, and serious injury or an obviously suspicious person or vehicle.

Do your part to keep your community safe. A group acting together in the same interest is much stronger than an individual. Keep an eye out for your neighbours and they’ll do the same for you!

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For more information, please contact:
Lewis Smith
Manager, National Projects, Canada Safety Council
613-739-1535 x228