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Police mark Protect Your Property Day

By Tyler Renaud [1]

BELLEVILLE – The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police has launched its 2015 crime prevention campaign with a focus on protecting your property.

Feb. 25 was Protect Your Property Day across Ontario.

Belleville Inspector Marlene Gray says the objective of the campaign is to remind citizens to be smart and proactive in crime prevention.

The goal is “ensuring that the people that live in our community are taking care of their property, and ensuring that they are protecting themselves from being an unwanted victim  – having them understand the responsibilities they need to undertake in order to protect themselves,” she said.

No one is safe from random acts of crime. Even Gray can be the victim of a break and enter.

http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/selection-from-protect-your-property-day-good-1-1.mp3 [2]

Gray provided her own suggestions on how people can protect themselves from being the victim of physical theft.

“Make sure all your doors are locked in your vehicles along with your homes. Secure all of your windows as well as don’t assume just because you have a window on the second floor that you can leave that open over night while your not at the residence. Use securing sticks in windows and sliding patio doors. Even something as simple as getting to know your neighbours. Not to be a nosy neighbour, but a responsible neighbour. So, when some one’s home or not home and something looks odd or out of place that should be enough to tweek your neighbour that somethings not right here,”  said Gray.

Gray says the focus on property protection is just part of the police’s overall crime prevention strategy.

“In the policing field we break different crimes into either property crimes or violent crimes; crimes against persons. Property crimes we always gauge together as break and enters, thefts, mischief, and theft of motor vehicles. What we are looking at is a lot of the same premises and guidelines really encompass that whole umbrella [of crimes],” she said.

The Canadian Anti Fraud Centre [3]recognizes 26 different types [4] of frauds or scams and one of the crimes focused on during the campaign. Gray says there are ways citizens can protect themselves from being the victims of fraud.

“A big thing for frauds is do not divulge any personal information over websites to people you don’t know or that are not secure. As well as, any documentation you get in the mail, bills, hydro bills, TV bill any type of bills at all, make sure you dispose of those in proper way and not just in the recycle box or in your garbage because if collected at the right time with enough information they may be able to piece together  enough to steal your identity. So, shred your bills or if you have the ability burn them some place as well,” Gray said.

In 2014, over 13,000 Canadians were the victim of mass market fraud scams, costing Canadians almost $70,000,000.

January 1 to December 31, 2014
Total Complaints Victims Dollar Loss
Canadian Complainants 40,986 13,690 $68,973,117.06
U.S. Complainants 855 531 $3,582,542.41
Other Country Complainants 179 134 $877,245.24
Total Number of Complainants 42,020 14,355 $73,432,904.71

Additionally, nearly 6,000 Canadians were the victim of identity theft and almost another 20,000 committed identity fraud last year. This resulted in nearly $ 11,000,000 being lost in 2014. Identify theft is when a criminal has enough information to assume the identity of another person. Whereas, identity fraud is when a person creates a completely different person with the proper documentation and uses it to create debt for a fake person, according to IdentityHawk.com [5].

 

January 1 to December 31, 2014
ID Theft ID Fraud ID Fraud Dollar Loss
Canadian Complainants 5,300 20,611 $10,484,492.50
U.S. Complainants 32 28 $76,770.65
Other Country Complainants 7 16 $75,380.13
Total Number of Complainants 5,339 20,655 $10,636,643.28

*All charts taken from the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre [6]

Another area of focus for the campaign is the treatment of seniors. According, to a report published [7] by the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse the number of cases of elder abuse is on the rise. In 2014, 8,900 cases  of violence  were reported against persons over the age of 65. Fifty-five per cent of incidents are perpetrated by family members of the victim. Furthermore 85 per cent  of cases even involved the use of physical violence.