Crime affects all of us. Be part of the solution!Auto and Bicyle Crime Prevention
Marijuana Grow Operations
More Crime Prevention Tips
Prevention of Auto and Bicycle Theft
The Port Coquitlam Community Police Volunteer Bike Patrol regularly patrols areas identified by crime analysis at high-risk for theft of or from vehicles and vandalism of property.
The purpose of the bike patrols is to reduce these types of crimes through increased visibility and presence in the community and by acting as trained eyes and ears for the police. It’s recommended that owners follow key crime prevention strategies to prevent vandalism and theft of private property.
These strategies include the following:
- locking your vehicle while it’s unattended
- using a steering wheel lock
- using an anti-theft device
- not leaving your garage door opener in your vehicle
- not leaving cash or valuables in plain view
- write down your serial number in a safe, secure location
- come into the community police station and engrave your bike with your drivers licence number
- take a picture of your bike.
To help protect yourself from being a victim of bicycle theft you can take some important steps:
- always lock your bike up with a reliable locking mechanism
- use bike stands when available
- leave your bike in well-lit areas
- engrave an identification number—usually your driver’s licence number—on your bicycle (You can engrave your bike by coming into one of the Port Coquitlam Community Police Stations where we can loan you an engraver. By engraving your bike you increase your chances of your bike being recovered by police after it has been stolen.)
For further information on how to protect your vehicle and your bicycles visit www.icbc.com or visit one of the Port Coquitlam Community Police Stations.
The majority of auto break-ins are the result of addicts looking for money and other valuables to sell in order to support their habit. In 2003, approximately 40,000 cars and trucks were stolen in British Columbia (30,000 of them from the Greater Vancouver area alone). In 2004, British Columbia saw the first significant decline in auto theft in over a decade with a 6% reduction overall and a 10% reduction in Greater Vancouver.
This reduction was the result of the implementation of the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team's (IMPACT) BAIT Car Program.
Statistics released by IMPACT show from January to June 2006 officers identified and targeted people and places (hot spots) that were involved in the majority of the crime in our communities. These actions brought auto theft down by 31% in Port Coquitlam.
What is a BAIT Car?
A bait car is a vehicle of any type that is owned by the police and is intended to be stolen. It is parked in high auto crime areas and left there, sometimes for an hour, other times for days. Once the vehicle is stolen, police are immediately dispatched to the moving bait car. The engine of the bait car is disabled remotely and the suspects are arrested. Everything that is said and done by the suspects inside the bait car is recorded on audio and video which is used for court purposes. The bait car program began in Greater Vancouver on May 1, 2004 and was expanded to Vancouver Island in April 2005. A further expansion to the interior of BC is underway.
What's the big deal? Isn't auto theft just a property crime?
No way. Shoplifting is a property crime, but auto theft poses a risk to public safety. Most car thieves are prohibited drivers and are under the influence of powerful street drugs, such as Crystal Meth, a drug that causes violent, unpredictable and paranoid behaviour. Many car thieves will flee at excessive speeds at just the sight of a police car and will put the public at extreme risk as they try to guide their 4000 pound speeding bullet into oncoming traffic, over curbs and through red lights. For the safety of ourselves and our children, we must take auto theft very seriously.
For further information on the BAIT Program and IMPACT, visit their website at www.BaitCar.com.
GraffitiWhat is graffiti?
Graffiti is the defacement of property through markings, designs, figures or words on any surface, building or structure without the consent of the owner. It can be painted, drawn, etched or scratched on the surface. It occurs anywhere the opportunity exists, including public and private buildings and vehicles.
Why should I care?
- Graffiti costs taxpayers money due to clean-up activities
- Graffiti destroys buildings’ structures and lowers property values
- Graffiti discourages customers and visitors, and can make a community appear unsafe
- Graffiti negatively impacts businesses through lost customers and revenues
What can I do to prevent graffiti on my property?
- Increase light and visibility around your target areas on your building. Try to ensure target spots can be seen from high traffic areas. This will aid police surveillance as well as discourage graffiti activity.
- Remove graffiti as soon as it occurs on your property. This will help stop it from spreading to other parts of your building or neighbouring structures.
- Graffiti is often easier to remove if it’s done soon after the occurrence. As a result, chemicals might not be needed to remove the product.
- Consider using paints that are resistant to graffiti.
What can I do if I have graffiti on my property?
React! - The sooner graffiti is removed, the less likely that location will be used for tagging again.
Report! – The occurrence needs to be reported to the police so they can take appropriate action. Community police station staff and volunteers can help you fill out a report and provide you resources on how to remove graffiti.
Remove! – Graffiti removal products and graffiti resistant paints are available at local hardware stores.
To find out more about Graffiti and Graffiti Removal Programs, click here.
Homeless camps have sprung up in our parks and other public lands in record numbers this year. According to research by the Hope For Freedom society, Port Coquitlam is the destination of choice for many people who feel that an outdoor camp is their last housing option. They are drawn here by our abundant green spaces and easy access to services – in other words, two of the very features that make Port Coquitlam an attractive place to live and work. Finding effective ways to help those in need break the cycle of homelessness is a challenge for all of us.
There is no doubt that some of the people camping on our public lands are responsible for an observed increase in property crime. It is never too early or too late to take action to prevent property crime, either as an individual or as part of a group. Community Policing offers offers many effective crime prevention programs such as Block Watch. To find out more, contact us at 604-927-2383.
It is also important to report crime directly to the RCMP, either while it is in progress (9-1-1) or as soon as possible thereafter (604-945-1550.) We all know that because of prior commitments the RCMP cannot always respond right away, but every report is valuable because it helps show where the problems are occurring.
To find out more about homelessness in British Columbia and what you can do to help, visit www.stophomelessness.ca.
Many of us think "it will never happen to me," but thousands of people are victims of identity theft each year. Identity theft is the unauthorized collection and use of your personal information to commit fraud or theft. Your name, date of birth or social insurance number may be used to open bank accounts or credit cards, rent vehicles or equipment, or secure employment.
There are several ways people can access your personal information, including stealing your mail, purse, or wallet, intercepting your garbage, committing ATM fraud, or using the Internet.
Here are a few tips to help you safeguard your identity:
- do not throw away readable bank records or other personal information (shred or tear them up)
- do not give out your credit card number or personal information over the phone unless you initiate the call
- do not give out your PIN (Personal Identification Number)
- use passwords on your credit cards and bank accounts (make sure they are not easy to guess) and pay careful attention to your billing cycles
- minimize the number of cards and identification you carry on you
- keep items with personal information in a safe place
If your credit card statements are missing, you notice purchases on them that you did not authorize, or you learn of a credit application that you did not make, then you may be a victim of identity theft. If you think you are a victim of identity theft, notify your bank and credit card companies immediately and contact the police. The best defense against identity theft is to make yourself a harder target by using your personal information carefully.
Impaired driving is a serious issue in the province of British Columbia. Every year 200 people are killed by drunk drivers and nearly 6,000 are injured in our province alone.
Currently it is a criminal offense to drive with a blood alcohol concentration in excess of .08%. This July and August, police are stepping up roadchecks to catch impaired drivers. Even if you’ve had a couple of drinks, it’s not OK to drive.
BC’s tough new drinking and driving laws take effect this fall and harsher penalties will begin at .05 BAC. We’re reminding everyone, before you take that first sip, make a smart choice: designate a driver, save money for a cab or take transit.
We are all ambassadors for the CounterAttack campaign, and can help to influence others by encouraging people to make smart choices. When your ‘re celebrating or relaxing with friends, help to keep our roads safe and have an enjoyable summer.
This limit is strictly enforced by municipal police and the RCMP. A range of penalties exist for your first impaired driving charge, starting from a twenty-four hour suspension of your licence, to a one year suspension of your driving privileges. The penalties increase dramatically with your second and third offense, and you may lose your licence for 3 years or more. You may even lose it indefinitely. These penalties may also come with fines and you may be found liable in civil court if your impaired driving causes injury to other drivers or pedestrians.
If you are planning to consume liquor, it is important to plan your mode of transportation home before you start drinking. You can call a taxi, take public transit, or choose a designated driver. During the Christmas season, a program called Operation Red Nose (www.operationnezrouge.com ) operates in many municipalities in the Lower Mainland, offering free rides home after particularly "merry" Christmas parties. If making the conscious choice to drive home, it is crucial to wait the appropriate time frame for your body to process this alcohol. As a rule, alcohol is usually eliminated from the body at a rate of 7mL to 12mL per hour; this is roughly the same amount of alcohol in a glass of beer or a highball. A glass of wine will have more alcohol, usually within the 15mL to 17mL range.
It is crucial to note that time is the only method of sobering up. Drinking coffee, eating food, or consuming other homemade concoctions are not effective methods.
Please use common sense and exercise caution when consuming any amount of alcohol and operating a motor vehicle, and remember that this activity can lead to death and serious injury, not just to you, but to other innocent victims as well.
Theft of mail is an invasion into your private life. Your mail contains a wealth of information that can lead to financial loss and considerable inconvenience if attained by the wrong hands. It could also lead to the loss of your identity. (See Identity Theft above.)
Mail theft cannot be prevented entirely, but you can minimize the opportunities with the following steps:
- Know when your mail is usually delivered and pick up the mail as soon as possible
- If going on vacation, have a family member or your neighbour pick up your mail. Alternatively, ask Canada Post to keep your mail until you return from your holiday
- Install a mail slot on your door, as it is more secure than an exterior mail box
- Report any signs of attempted break-in to your mail boxes to Canada Post Customer Service
- Notify Canada Post of any open boxes
- Deposit all sensitive or financial mail at your local post office
- Do not mail cash, but use postal money orders
These are just a few steps to protect your mail. More information can be obtained at the Port Coquitlam Community Police Stations.
Marijuana Grow Operations are on the rise in British Columbia. "Grow Ops" pose a serious risk to public safety: these illegal marijuana crops set up in homes or apartments pose a fire hazard, health hazard and are often the site of violent crime. Learn how to spot the signs of a grow op in your neighbourhood so that you can report any suspicious activity to your local police department or CrimeStoppers.
What is a 'grow op'?
- A marijuana grow operation, or grow-op, is an illegal enterprise in which marijuana plants are grown and sold for profit
- To maintain optimal growing conditions, grow-ops are set up indoors, in urban residences and industrial rental properties
- Organized crime and local criminals are involved in marijuana production for distribution locally, regionally and internationally
Facts About Grow Ops
- The number of grow-ops and drug seizures in the Lower Mainland has risen dramatically in recent years
- In British Columbia, a large percentage of police resources is spent dealing with grow-ops
- Grow ops are often accompanied by violent crimes
- Marijuana growers are often in possession of dangerous weapons and violent guard dogs which pose a danger to the public
- Electrocution: Electrical rewiring poses a potential danger for marijuana growers, emergency personnel and the neighbouring community.
- Environmental Damage: Hazardous chemicals are often disposed of in household drains and end up in local water systems.
- Fire Hazards: Exposed wires, high intensity bulbs and exhaust fans used in grow-ops put the grow-op home and the surrounding houses at risk.
- Structural Damage to Homes: Marijuana grow-ops often involve altering rented homes in order to produce a larger crop. Often, structural walls are removed, placing the home at risk of collapsing. Humidity and condensation build-up can cause highly toxic mold and fungus, damaging insulation, walls, ceilings and floors.
- Violence: Grow-ops are often the target of violent robberies because of the lucrative crop and cash on the premises. This criminal activity puts residents of the neighborhood at risk.
How to Spot a Grow Op
- Residence does not appear to be lived in (i.e. flyers are left in mailbox or on ground floor, children’s toys left outside with no children seen at home)
- Windows covered with black plastic, tin foil, or heavy curtains pressed against windows
- Condensation on windows
- A skunk-like odor mixed with a vegetable smell
- Sounds of electric humming
- Neighbouring residents experience "power surges"
- Hoses run from doors or windows to the exterior of the home
- Discarded equipment such as pots, wiring and soil left in the yard
- Unusual visitor behaviour, i.e. expensive vehicles come and go, staying for only several minutes at a time
- Suspects drive expensive automobiles, but do not appear to attend regular jobs
- Residents keep to themselves and do not socialize with neighbours
- Occupants appear to have moved in during the night
What to do?
If you think there could be a grow-op in your neighborhood, contact Coquitlam RCMP at 604-945-1550. If you wish to report a crime anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or leave a secure tip online at www.bccrimestoppers.com.
For more information about how to spot grow operations visit:
The best way to keep yourself safe is to be aware of your surroundings and avoid putting yourself in a situation where you can become victimized.
Here are some safety tips to help you avoid dangerous situations in a parking lot:
- Know the parking lot you are parking in. If you are unfamiliar with the lot, drive around until you find a spot that is best for you.
- If you feel uncomfortable find a different lot to park in.
- Park in a well-lit area, near a light post if possible.
- Hide/remove valuable items before leaving your vehicle.
- Park close to your destination especially if it’s going to be dark when you return.
- Check your surroundings to make sure it is safe before you get out of your vehicle.
- When returning to your vehicle walk in pairs or groups. For example, follow the crowd out of a store or movie theatre.
- Be aware of everything and everybody around you.
- Have your keys in your hand before you reach your vehicle. Carry a small pocket-size flashlight if possible.
- Look inside your vehicle before entering.
- Lock your doors as soon as you get into your vehicle and turn on your headlights.
- If you see or notice any suspicious activity in the parking lot stay in the building and call security!
- If someone suspicious approaches you while you are in your vehicle honk your horn and flash your lights to draw attention.
Remember think smart and park safe!
- Auto Crime Prevention (pdf)
- Fraud Awareness (pdf)
- Home Security (pdf)
- Internet Safety for Families (pdf)
- Personal Safety (pdf)
- Road Safety (pdf)
- Youth Gangs
- Investment Fraud
- Senior Safety
- Mortgage Fraud
Downtown Community Police Office
2581 Mary Hill Road
Port Coquitlam BC V3C 4X3
Northside Community Police Office
3312 Coast Meridian Road
Port Coquitlam BC V3B 3N5
RCMP Main Detachment
2986 Guilford Way
Coquitlam BC V3B 7Y5