Red Deer resident Denise Smith’s truck was broken into sometime over the weekend. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

Red Deer break and enters: Some crimes get reported, others don’t

‘You feel violated that someone has been in my garage without permission’

Being a victim of crime is frustrating and violating.

That is the feeling of two Red Deer residents who had their trucks broken into recently.

One of the residents, Gerald Stelmaschuk, who lives on Ogden Avenue, had his minivan broken into while it was in his detached garage.

Denise Smith had her truck broken into sometime over the weekend, while it was parked in her apartment parking lot on 53rd Avenue.

Jeff Giesbrecht, Tri-West Security Alberta operations manager, said his company receives about two or three calls from the public every week complaining they’re victims of crime, but adding they won’t be reporting the incident to the RCMP.

The security company encourages potential customers to report the crime. But the victims often believe it’s a waste of time, or they say they have been victims of crime in the past and nothing has happened, Giesbrecht said.

“We hear about how they haven’t reported it to the local authorities because it happens so often,” Giesbrecht said, referring to both residential and commercial property offences.

The company works with the RCMP and hears success stories “about bad guys being caught, but unfortunately, it’s more the other way than the success stories, because we all know crime is a problem in Red Deer.”

Stelmaschuk reported his break-in, which took place sometime between Sept. 11 and 12, to the Red Deer RCMP.

Tuesday, he said he lost a mountain bike valued at between $500 and $1,000, a Westerner Park parking pass that cost $199 and pieces of ID, including an Alberta health card.

“Like everybody who is victimized in any way, you feel violated that someone has been in my garage without permission. It’s the same as if somebody is in your house without permission,” he said.

Stelmaschuk, a retired school teacher, said his minivan wasn’t locked, but that’s because his garage was locked.

“The one door entrance that I use to get into the garage was locked and dead bolted, so they had to have found a way to open the double-wide garage at the back. And the only way they could do that is to use a remote, which somehow opened the door.”

Stelmaschuk has learned that criminals steal garage door openers and go around the city trying the remote on different homes until a door opens.

“I can understand (locking your cars) if you’re parked in the street, but if you’re in a garage, that is fairly secure. I wouldn’t think you have to lock it there,” he said.

Although he reported the crime to the police, he doesn’t plan to claim anything on his insurance, because his deductible would be higher than the value of what he lost.

Smith said she didn’t report her crime to police. She lost a GPS and a couple of $5 bills and a vape.

The 65-year-old woman said she believes there are other Red Deerians who may not be reporting crimes because the financial value is not that steep.

“There’s been several break-ins in the city and they (police) won’t do anything anyway, and what can they do?

“They take the report, and basically, that’s about it,” Smith said, adding it also takes police officers away from more important tasks, such as catching criminals.

She also won’t go through her insurance because her deductible would probably be higher than what she lost.

“And my premium would go up if I claim it.”

Smith is surprised the culprits didn’t take a new hoodie and a ball glove that were on the back seat.

“It’s just a shame that it’s what the world has come to. You didn’t have to lock your doors (years ago), but now you do, and even then, it doesn’t guarantee someone isn’t going to help themselves to your stuff,” she said.

“It’s very frustrating.

“It’s not so much the value of what they took. If they would’ve come to me and said, ‘I need some money,’ I would’ve given it. But instead, they break into your vehicle.”

Stelmaschuk, a longtime Red Deer resident, said crime is the No. 1 issue in the city.

He believes more neighbourhood crime watch groups, and neighbours keeping an eye out for each other, would help reduce crime in Red Deer.

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