Keep doors locked this summer
Camrose Fire Department responded to a house being struck by lightning on 64th Street on June 21. Submitted/Michelle Doupe
As the calendar turned into summer last week, Camrose Police Service is preaching the need to be more vigilant in the protection of property.
At the top of a homeowner's priority list should be locking up everything.
One of the big ways to do this is CPS's Eye on Camrose program Nightly at Nine, which encourages people to do a sweep of their home and property to make sure vehicles and cars are locked up. In reality, it doesn't have to be at 9 p.m., it's about developing the routine and good habits of ensuring one's safety.
"Do it for yourself, but also your neighbours if you have a good relationship with them, double-check their door while you're out checking yours," said Cst. Kelly Bauer. "With summer holidays people take off for weeks at a time, let your neighbours know you are gone … so they can keep an eye on your property while you are gone."
Bauer says CPS sees a noticeable uptick in break ins and stolen property during the summer months. There are a number of contributing factors to this, including the weather being easier for perpetrators to work in, to more people unchecked at night with the holidays and school out, and people gone on holidays.
The Eyes on Camrose program also had a Lock it or Lose it component which underlined the importance of always locking a vehicle, even if the owner is just running into the store for two minutes.
Bauer says they often hear from people that if a thief is going to break into a car, they're going to break into a car. The reality is, they are just looking for an opportunity and will pounce on the car that happens to have its doors left unlocked. He also highly recommends that if you do not use your garage with a particular vehicle to remove the garage door opener from the car.
It was even a learning process for him when it came to ensuring his all of his own property was locked up at night, including his garage, his car in the garage and the door connecting the garage to the house. For a thief, it's all about easy access.
"We have people walking into people's homes … they don't make much noise, they just come in the back door, grab a few things and out they go," said Bauer. "In my own mind, as an individual, I have to know that everything is locked, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night."
This is a city-wide issue that was rampant enough in neighbourhoods like Creekview, Valleyview and Duggan Park last year that CPS rented a portable billboard to move around to different areas.
The Camrose Fire Department is also asking homeowners to protect themselves, but in another fashion. Their focus every summer is on barbecues and backyard fire pits.
When it comes to a barbecue, Chief Peter Krich, says people should ensure their roaster of meat should be at least one metre away from the house.
"We have a lot of people that like to put their barbecue right up against their siding," said Krich. "On a normal barbecuing-day it probably wouldn't affect anything, but we've all experienced the flare ups on our barbecues and that creates extra heat."
He also added emphasized the need to be under control and safe around fire pits, whether in the city or while camping.
"It's being safe, it's being conscious of the environment around you and being prepared to put it out if you have too," said Krich.
The fire department did respond to a structure fire on Thursday last week, but it was due to a house being struck by lightning. He says the department was able to contain the fire to the roof quickly. It was a much better result than a lightning strike that resulted in two houses under construction burning to the ground last year.
"Depending on how it hits and where it hits and how the electricity projects through the home determines how the fire is going to spread within that home," said Krich. "It's not a common thing but it has some potential any time an electrcal storm moves through."