Drug-addicted thieves are breaking into homes and cars making off with valuable items — and we’re helping them gain easy access, say Ottawa police.
“People need to close their garages, even if they’re going to be in the backyard hanging out or gardening,” said Sgt. Mike Noonan. “Just close the door when you’re not in and out of it.”
From May 21 to June 20, about 245 homes and businesses were broken into in the city.
Noonan said most break-ins are committed for quick cash.
“If they get a hold of a cellphone or a GPS or a camera, it’s traded straight up for drugs,” said Noonan.
It’s a 9-to-5 world and home burglaries usually occur during the day.
“They don’t want to confront or be confronted,” he said.
Police have encountered a combination of the issues this summer.
“We’ll see guys who will find an unlocked car door (in the driveway), get the garage door opener, open the garage door, and there goes the bicycles and the golf clubs,” Noonan said.
Those items are often taken to scrapyards.
People who intentionally leave car doors unlocked in the hopes of sparing their windows from being smashed are misinformed, said Noonan, who maintains car-surfing criminals are only looking for open vehicles.
“If they find a car door locked, they simply keep walking,” he said.
Coveted items include cash, laptops, MP3 players — anything with lots of value in a small package.
Summer is the busiest time of year for thieves, according to Aviva Canada insurance claims data.
“Thieves are opportunists,” said spokesman Glenn Cooper.
Their numbers show a spike in home burglaries during warmer months: In June, July and August, break-ins are up by 13%, 20% and 31% over the slowest month, April.
The majority of criminals who break in are repeat offenders, said Noonan, adding while warm weather keeps thieves occupied, the season is irrelevant.
“It has more to do with who is not in custody, and who is in and out of custody at the time, and who’s currently on a drug binge,” he said.
The popular method for home break-ins is for thieves to go door to door.
“If they do get an answer, they’ll usually use the fake name, ‘Is so and so here? Oh, sorry, have the wrong address,’” said Noonan.
He encourages residents to call police if they see the same person going from house to house.