The seeds have been planted for an Upper Beach/Kingston Road neighbourhood watch group, with about 30 residents turning out to Community Centre 55 last month for an initial meeting.
Organized by resident Aaron McIntosh with the support of 55 Division community liaison officer Jon Morrice, the May 26 meeting was a first attempt at plotting out what type of neighbourhood safety group residents would like to see, as well as an opportunity to learn basic tips to safeguard homes against intruders while looking out for one’s neighbours.
Information distribution tactics included flyers, social media, and more neighbourhood meet-ups.
Concerns ranged from home and car break-ins and attempted break-ins to mail theft to troublemakers touring the streets late at night.
Some who turned out for the meeting questioned whether crime in the neighbourhood was on the rise, or if it was just more visible because of more frequent reporting on social media.
Both Morrice and Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, also in attendance, stressed that crime in the neighbourhood was not going up, it was actually going down.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things people can do to make their homes more secure and their streets brighter and more lively and, in turn, safe.
Those things can include cameras, strong doors, secure sheds, more lights in darker areas, particularly in alleyways, and having your neighbours’ phone numbers on hand so you can alert them if something seems amiss at their house when they are not home.
“You look at the stats from the federal government, crime is going down,” said Morrice. “But it’s still not comforting to the person who has their house broken into. We’re not in a crazy crime increase by any means, I do think the information is just so much more out there because of social media.”
McMahon added that “we have to remember that we live in one of the safest areas of the city and we’re very lucky. Part of that is because people are hyper-vigilant about reporting to 55 Division … I would also caution you about social media. Yes there are a lot of people saying things are happening, but there are a lot of fake accounts on social media, there’s sensationalism.”
She said she liked the idea of distributing flyers. “I really think it’s the old fashioned house calls, door knocking, walk, pound the pavement yourself,” she said.
“I live up by the Danny and I have always re-claimed my alleyways. I used to walk my kids to school through the alleys all the time, I say hello to everyone, always have … I want them to know, ‘watchful eye on the community.’ Maybe it’s a lonely senior where a ‘hello’ makes them smile, but it’s also someone not from the neighbourhood, to show them that this is a family-friendly place.”
For more information on the initiative and on ways you can make your home more secure, visit http://www.krvcw.ca/.