Residential Safety

If burglars are certain that no one is at home, they will feel safer committing a crime. Suspects will often target houses where the lawn has not been cut or the snow hasn't been cleared, houses that are completely dark, or houses that have left the same lights on for too long.

To reduce the possibility of a break and enter, the Strathroy-Caradoc Police Service recommends the following burglary prevention tips:

At Home or Work 
  • Install secure locks on all doors and windows.
  • Lock your garage and mandoor at all times.
  • Consider installing a security system.
  • Change locks if keys have been lost or stolen.
  • When moving, change all of the locks.
  • High value items such as lawn mowers, snow blowers, and gas barbecues should be stored out of sight when not in use.
  • Garden sheds and cabanas should also be locked.
  • Keep a record of serial numbers and descriptions of your household possessions.
  • Inscribe your possessions with your name or other easily identifiable markings so that police can confirm them as yours and return them to you.
  • Doors should have sturdy frames, with hinges that cannot be removed.
While on Vacation 
  • Make sure your garage, windows, and doors are locked.
  • Use automatic timers that turn lights on and off to give your home the appearance of being occupied.
  • Have a neighbour pick up packages and mail, or discontinue all deliveries.
  • Arrange to have your lawn cut or snow shoveled.
  • Leave your travel schedule and phone number with a trusted neighbour or relative so that you may be contacted if necessary.
  • Also provide that neighbour with the phone number of a close relative or friend in case of emergencies.
  • Leave a door key and alarm system (if you have one) pass code with a neighbour.
  • Let close neighbours know how long you will be gone and provide details about any persons who will be visiting your home during your absence.
  • If you have a second car, leave it in your driveway or arrange to have a neighbour park their car in your driveway.
  • Review your insurance before you leave. You may not be covered if your home has not been visited while you are away on vacation.
  • Consider a house sitter. 

Business Safety

Reporting a Crime

To report a crime involving a business, please dial 911 if the incident is:

  • an emergency
  • in progress
  • an immediate danger to yourself or someone else

Otherwise, please call 519-245-1250 or report online.

Preventing a Crime

Burglary, robbery, and vandalism can be particularly devastating to businesses in terms of money, customers, and employee safety. Through crime prevention, business owners can protect their assets as well as their employees.

Below are tips to help keep your business safe and secure.

Prevention Measures 

Business owners should take a hard look at their businesses in areas such as physical layout, number of employees, hiring practices, and overall security to determine vulnerability to various kinds of crime, from burglary to internal theft. Once this step has been taken, crime prevention measures can then be implemented.

  • Establish and enforce clear policies about employee theft, crime reporting, opening and closing the business, and other security procedures.
  • Provide training for all employees on security procedures.
  • Use good locks, safes, grills on windows, and alarm systems. Check with several companies and decide what level of security fits the needs of the business.
  • If you have an alarm system, post signage on all doors and windows to indicate premises are monitored by an alarm company.
  • Consider installing a high quality video alarm system that can be monitored online. Angle cameras to aim at points of entry (doors, windows). Ensure all currently installed systems are in good working order.
  • Keep detailed, up-to-date business records, such as inventories, serial numbers, bank records, and store back-up copies of premises. If a business is ever victimized, the owner can assess losses more easily and provide useful information for police investigations.
  • Engrave all valuable office equipment and tools with a unique identification number such as licence number. Do not use your Social Insurance Number. Mark equipment such as cash registers, printers, and computers.
  • Keep a record of all identification numbers off premises along with other important records.
  • Consider the cost of each security improvement made against the potential savings through loss reduction.

Remember to assess the impact on employees and customers. Since crimes against businesses are usually crimes of opportunity, failure to take good security precautions invites crime into a business.

Burglary Prevention 

Windows should have secure locks and burglar-resistant glass or a security laminate installed. Consider installing bars, metal grates on all accessible windows except display windows. An expandable security gate can be used at closing for display windows and glass doors.

  • Remove all expensive items from window displays at night and make sure you can easily see into the business after closing.
  • Light the inside and outside of the business, especially around doors, windows, skylights, or other entry points. Consider installing covers over exterior lights and power sources to deter tampering.
  • Check the parking lot for good lighting and unobstructed views.
  • Keep the cash register in plain view from the outside of the business, so police and pedestrians can monitor it at all times. Leave it open and empty after closing. You can even put the empty cash tray on display.
  • Be sure the safe is fireproof and securely anchored. Leave it open when empty and use it to lock up valuables at close. Remember to change the combination when an employee who has had access to it leaves the business.
  • Before investing in an alarm system, check with several companies and decide what level of security fits the needs of your business. Install an audible alarm to deter an intruder from entering.  Learn how to use the system properly, check it daily, and run a test when closing.
  • Remove all cash from the till and leave it open. Place the cash tray in clear view on the counter to indicate the till is empty.
Robbery Prevention 

Robbery does not occur as often as other crimes against businesses, but the potential for loss can be much greater from a single incident. In addition, robbery involves force or threat of force.

  • Cooperate with the robber. Merchandise and cash can always be replaced; people cannot!
  • Employees should greet every person who enters the business in a friendly manner. Personal contact can discourage a would-be criminal.
  • Keep windows clear of displays or signs and make sure the business is well lit. Check the layout of the store to eliminate any blind spots that may hide a robbery in progress.
  • Provide information about the security systems to employees only on a “need-to-know” basis.
  • Instruct employees to report any suspicious activity or person immediately and write down the information for future reference.
  • Keep only small amounts of cash in the register to reduce possible losses. Use a drop safe where large bills and excess cash are dropped by employees and cannot be retrieved by them. Post signs alerting would-be robbers of this procedure.
  • Make bank deposits often and during business hours. Do not establish a pattern; take different routes at different times during the day.
Ensure the address is visible so emergency vehicles can easily find the business from the front and rear of the premise. 
Vandalism Prevention 

Annual damage estimates due to vandalism are in the billions, and businesses pass the costs on to customers through higher prices. Most vandals are young people, from teens to young adults.

  • Clean up vandalism once police officers have left the scene. Replace signs, repair equipment, paint over graffiti. Then, use landscape designs, building materials, lighting, or fences to discourage vandals. Prickly shrubs, closely-planted hedges, and hard-to-mark surfaces can be effective in many circumstances.
  • Consider installing Security Film for windows.
  • Work with police to report vandalism. Remember, vandalism (mischief) is a crime. Call 911 if the crime is in progress or use the non-emergency number, 519-245-1250, if the incident has already happened.
  • Protect the business by installing and using good lighting, surveillance cameras and locking gates.
  • Talk with neighbouring businesses about vandalism to discuss its solutions.
If There is a Crime, Preserve the Crime Scene
  • Protect the scene of the crime and stop others from disturbing the area where the crime occurred.
  • Do not touch any articles that may have been touched or left behind by the suspect.
  • Hold all witnesses until the police arrive. If they cannot stay, take their information (name, address, and phone number).
  • Lock the doors and do not allow anyone in except the police when a robbery occurs, where no injuries have occurred.
  • Do not trust memory; try to write down all information immediately or take pictures if possible.
  • Do not discuss the crime until police interview you.
  • If you discover a break-in call police immediately and avoid entering the premises. Do not open for business.
  • If you must enter, avoid walking over the path that suspects may have taken. Walk close to the edge of walls. Even if you can't see footwear impressions, they may still be present and visualized by Forensic Officers.
  • Do not touch anything. Suspect fingerprints may be smudged or overlapped.
  • Avoid cleaning up evidence until a Forensic Officer has completed their examination.
Identifying the Suspect 
  • Practise identification with co-workers.
  • Purchase height strips. Place them on the doorframe of the entrance, and where valuable merchandise is stored.
  • Try to notice abnormalities, speech problems, tattoos, or scars.
  • Notice type of build, or estimate weight.
  • Notice type and colour of clothing worn.
  • Notice direction of travel, try to get a description of the vehicle from any witnesses and write down the licence number.
  • Try to remember the number of suspects involved.
  • Clean all glass surfaces and create a log of when cleaning was completed. This can assist police during an investigation with fingerprints if a break-in occurs.