Break-ins alarm residents

A Highland Green resident with video footage of someone trying to break into his home early Monday morning no longer feels safe in his Red Deer neighbourhood.

A Highland Green resident with video footage of someone trying to break into his home early Monday morning no longer feels safe in his Red Deer neighbourhood.

“It’s been getting bad around here. It’s really dangerous when someone is trying to enter your house when you’re home,” Anthony Myer said Monday.

“Now that I’ve seen the footage of him trying to enter my house when I’m home, how does a person sleep at night? There’s got to be a way to protect yourself.”

Just two weeks ago someone broke into Myer’s garage and stole a new snowblower, tools and food from his freezer.

On Monday morning, someone rattled door knobs at the back of Myer’s home and on his garage, before leaving without gaining entry.

Myer’s said in the summer someone tried to get into his home through an open widow and woke up him and his girlfriend.

Myer said the police officer who came to his home after he called 911 on Monday said a break-in occurred elsewhere in the neighbourhood that morning.

Waskasoo resident Robert Bonin said his home was broken into on Dec. 23 in broad daylight. Jewelry, watches, and electronics were stolen.

Prior to the crime, security had been increased due to a break-in on Dec. 17, 2012.

“We’re just frustrated . . . Red Deer is in need of a city police force, guys that patrol the neighbourhoods rather than Gaetz Avenue. I’ve never seen a peace officer in the neighbourhood,” Bonin said.

“You are not safe in your own home in Red Deer anymore, daytime or night it doesn’t matter. Even with alarm systems, (criminals) know they have 60 seconds to get in and out.”

He said a few neighbours have also had break-ins this month.

“This neighbourhood has just gone to pot in the last year.”

The only bright spot this season came when a local dog breeder found out about the family’s problems and gave them a Great Dane puppy to beef up their security. It cheered up his family to know there were people around who cared.

“Females (Great Danes) are extremely overprotective as I understand,” Bonin said.

Break-in statistics for Red Deer were not available from RCMP on Monday. But Cpl. Sarah Knelsen said while property crime in a big city like Red Deer is everywhere, break-ins while people are at home are rare.

“There is no neighbourhood that is immune from property crime,” Knelsen said.

TerryLee Ropchan, executive director of Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre, agreed break-ins are common around Red Deer and most are crimes of opportunity when a criminal finds an unlocked door or notices the snow hasn’t been shovelled so likely no one is home.

She said property crimes do increase when there’s a drug house nearby, but if residents work with police to shut down the drug house, related crime will drop.

It also helps to get to know your neighbours and to look out for each other, Ropchan said.

“Lots of suspicious things are reported because neighbours know that other neighbours are gone.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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