OPP launches Safeguard program

The Wellington County OPP has announced the official launch of the SafeGuard Ontario Property Security Program.

This free program is available to residents of Wellington County who have been victimized by a residential break and enter.

The OPP recognize that break and enters continue to remain an all-too-common occurrence in Canada, with more than 200,000 reported to police annually, of which 60 per cent are residential. Another 30% are businesses and 10% are other locations such as sheds and detached garages.

“Last year Wellington County OPP investigated more than 260 break and enter incidents; we are doing everything we can to reduce that number,” said OPP Inspector Scott Lawson.

“This important crime prevention program has been long overdue. I am very pleased that we can now start performing these security reviews in partnership with eight newly-trained auxiliary program officers with full support of our Police Services Board.”

SafeGuard Ontario training provides an orientation to the basic principles of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED), with a primary focus on “target hardening techniques” to help reduce or prevent re-victimization.

Research indicates the decision to commit a crime is tied to the perceived risk of being caught and that a high frequency of re-victimization occurs during the 12 months following an initial break-in.

SafeGuard is a community-based crime prevention program developed to help citizens “lock criminals out of house and home.”

The goal of the program is to reduce break and enters, increase support to victims, reduce re-victimization, and engage and empower citizens to take an active role in helping to prevent crime, said Lawson.

In addition to reducing the frequency and fear of crime inside and around buildings, a SafeGuard Ontario’s property security review provides a home owner with basic suggestions on how they may improve their property, and hopefully prevent re-occurrences.

A review covers many features including a building’s windows, locks and pins; door hinges, frames and locks; exterior lighting; garage security and the address number displayed.

An electric property engraver is also available for loan “free of charge” following each review.

When property is marked or etched with an identifying number, it is considered “damaged goods” in the eyes of a criminal, which makes it harder for re-sale.

Wellington County residents who have been an unfortunate victim of a residential break and enter and are interested in booking a free review  – or just want more information – can contact provincial constable Karen Kelly at the Wellington County OPP  Centre Wellington operations centre at 519-846-5930.