A steady increase in break-ins over the past few weeks has prompted the local RCMP detachment to call out for additional vigilance from Hay River residents.Homes, businesses and vehicles have been targeted and broken into at a worrisome rate, and residents have expressed their anger and fears via social media networks.
Cpl. Scott Young started noticing the increase last month and said it has yet to abate.
“At the end of July, early August, we noticed a slight increase in those types of crimes,” he said.
“Most of the matters are still ongoing and we’re asking homeowners to be vigilant. If they go away on holiday, they should have someone look after their home and make sure their doors and windows are locked.”
The RCMP was unable to provide statistics on how many break-ins have taken place this summer, or whether it is comparable to other years.
When a temporary exodus of residents is expected, as in the summer, unattended homes and vehicles are especially targeted.
The RCMP wants to get the message out to residents that taking additional security measures with your home and vehicle can be a strong deterrence to would-be burglars and thieves.
They also want to encourage people to report any suspicious behaviour.
“Sometimes people call us after the fact: they say they saw someone but weren’t sure whether to call us or not,” Young said. “They should jot down the person’s physical description and call us immediately.”
One concerned resident, who asked not to be identified, witnessed one of the break-ins last week.
“I woke up at 1:30 a.m. and heard them in my driveway,” the person said. “I looked outside and they had moved to the house across the street. I couldn’t believe how relaxed they were. I didn’t know what to do. My first reaction was to chase them but I wanted them arrested, so I called the police. I hopped in my car and started following them but by the time I had arrived at another house, they darted into the back-yard just before the police arrived.”
Young said he supports the idea of a community-based organization willing to lend its eyes and ears to the RCMP, citing the Citizens on Patrol initiative as a group that could help limit break-ins around town.
“They are still in the early stages of coming together and something I am in favour of,” he said.
Hay River residents have already started sharing their own tips online, one person suggesting that people refrain from sharing their addresses publicly.