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Calgary Police Service

Break and Enter Prevention Tips

Break and Enter Prevention Tips

There are actions you can take to help deter thieves from breaking into your home, vehicle, or business.

Residential

  • Lock all windows and doors – even when you are at home.
  • Keep valuables (purses, car keys, wallets) away from the front door. Do not leave your spare keys in an obvious spot.
  • Consider using a safe for valuables and important documents. Keep the safe in a well-hidden area.
  • Close your blinds to prevent people from looking inside your home.
  • Install motion-activated or timed lights (smart light bulbs).
  • Have secure, lockable basement windows.
  • Trim the shrubbery in front of your residence.
  • Post a contact list on fridge (name, renter/owner, phone number, email).
  • Create a nightly routine for your household (for example, make sure the last person to bed checks that the windows, doors and vehicle(s) are locked).
  • Update your alarm company with your contact information.
  • Lock your gates.
  • Do not leave ladders out.
  • If you are outside doing yard maintenance, make sure your doors and windows are closed and locked, and valuables are stored out of sight.
  • If you live in an apartment building, do not let anyone into the building that you don’t know. If you see anyone concerning in your vestibule, call police.
  • Alarm systems can provide a great deterrent; however, police need evidence of the offender to locate and charge them. Consider installing security and/or doorbell cameras.
  • Record serial numbers of electronic items and photograph all valuables. This aids police and you in identifying your property.
  • Get to know your neighbours so that they know if a person belongs at your property or not.

Attached/Detached Garage

  • Always lock the main door between the garage and residence.
  • When you are not inside your garage, close the overhead door to ensure no one can remove any belongings or break into your house.
  • Lock vehicles that are inside the garage.
  • Consider using tracking devices (e.g. AirTags or GPS trackers) for your vehicle and any other valuables. 

Vacation

If you are heading on vacation or going camping:

  • Arrange for a house sitter to watch your house/property while you are away. Make sure your house sitter has contact information for you and other homeowners (name, phone number and email).
  • Arrange for someone to pick up your mail and packages. Mail and packages piling up over days or weeks will look like no one is home.
  • Have someone shovel your walkway and/or driveway in the winter, mow your lawn in the summer, and put your garbage bins in and out (even if they are empty).
  • Ask your neighbour to park their vehicle in your driveway while you are gone.
  • Lock your gates.
  • Do not leave ladders out.
  • Put your lights on timers – both interior and exterior (smart light bulb).
  • Do not advertise your vacation plans on social media platforms.
  • Do not put your address on your luggage tags. Your name, phone number and email will be sufficient for someone to contact you in the event of lost or delayed luggage.

Vehicles

  • Lock all doors and close all windows, even if you are parked inside a garage.
  • When you leave your vehicle, take your garage door opener with you.
  • Do not keep any valuables in your vehicle.
  • Take your purse and wallet with you. Do not leave these in your vehicle at any time.
  • Do not keep cash or spare change in your vehicle.
  • Do not keep spare keys to vehicle or residence in your vehicle.
  • Do not keep your insurance, registration documents or driver's licence in your vehicle. 

Shop/Industrial

  • Ensure all shop doors are locked and alarm is set when the last employee leaves.
  • Consider clear film glass reinforcement products, bars or shutters for windows and doors.
  • Small businesses may want to consider putting a sign in the window stating there is no money kept on site.
  • Use a safe or a secured area to store valuables, such as keys to company vehicles.
  • Update your key holder information every month (if there is high turnover) and ensure they are willing to answer the phone throughout the night as needed.
  • Keep an updated contact list inside of business. Keep it by the till for police.
  • Consider AirTags or GPS trackers for valuables and safes
  • Consider installing good quality CCTV. Police require evidence of offenders to lay a charge.
  • Record serial numbers of electronic items and photograph all valuables. This aids police and you in identifying your property.

Crime Prevention Tips for Businesses

Tips for home and business security cameras

When choosing a security camera or CCTV, remember:

• Look for the best quality camera or system within your budget. 

• CCTV can both act as a deterrent and assist in investigations.

• Learn the ins and outs of your system so you can provide appropriate footage and evidence to police in the event of a report.

Considerations when selecting a camera system (CPS does not endorse any specific product):

  • Quality of picture:

    • A proper aspect ratio (width x height) will allow images to be viewed correctly, without distortion.

    • The higher the resolution, the better the quality – but also be mindful that more storage space is generally required for higher resolution images.

    • A frame rate of 30 frames per second is optimal to avoid missing frames.

    • Make note of the difference between night and day recording and adjust if needed.

  • Consider looking at camera or security systems that allow for:

    • Notifications on your smart phone

    • Live monitoring

    • Alarm activation

    • Motion-activation or continuous capture

    • Two-way audio (for doorbell cameras)

    • Motion lights

    • Longer periods for saving footage

  • Placement considerations:

    • Do not hide your cameras. Cameras work best as a deterrent when they are visible.

    • Cameras should be placed out of reach of tampering and directed to the areas you want to cover.

    • Focus the placement on a specific area of concern (e.g. door, gate or window). Do not try to capture too much of the surrounding area.

    • Keep your hedges, large trees and bushes trimmed to prevent obstructed views.

Reporting a crime

Submit an online report

Submit a tip

Resources for victims

If you are the victim of a break and enter, you may suffer more than the loss of property. You may feel personally violated and have feelings of anger and fear. There are resources to help you.

Victim resources – break and enters

CALL YOUR LOCAL POLICE

In an emergency always call 911

Non-emergency 403-266-1234