Know Your Neighbour
For most people, neighbourhood safety is only an issue when they no longer have it. Yet neighbourhood safety is an issue that never really goes away nor should ever be taken for granted.
At its most basic level, helping to maintain your neighbourhood’s safety is as simple as getting to KNOW and WATCH OUT for your neighbours and reporting suspicious and/or criminal activity to the Police when you see it happen.
Neighbourhood Safety Starts With You
Getting To Know Your Neighbours
Getting to KNOW your neighbours is one of the simplest, yet most effective things that you can do as it builds the necessary relations that cause people to look out for one another. Getting to KNOW your neighbour can be as simple as a greeting followed by an exchange of name and some basic information such as your address and your phone number. When people feel they have made your acquaintance, they are much more likely to look out for you or help should the need arise.
Watch Out For Suspicious Activity
As residents of our neighbourhoods, we generally know who our neighbours are and have a feel for what is normal versus unusual activity. If for instance, you noticed someone on your neighbour’s property when you know that they’re not home or see a chair placed beneath a main floor window that is not normally found there, you should regard these as signs of suspicious activity. In fact, if you see anything that looks out of place (a strange car parked on the street with someone sitting in it) or leaves a question in your mind (someone pulling on car door handles), ask yourself what would you want your neighbor to do, if this was happening on or in front of your property.
Examples of Suspicious Activity:
- Stranger removing property from a neighbour’s house
- Something out of place (such as a screen removed from a window) or someone who does not belong at a particular property or place
- Strange car parked on the street with a person sitting in it
- The sound of breaking glass or the thud from a door being kicked
- Someone trying doors of parked cars or peering through windows
- Strangers exchanging items in a park, a parked car or street corner
- A constant flow of strangers to and from a particular house on a regular basis (especially at night)
- Door to door solicitations without proper identification
- Someone knocking on your door and asking for a person who doesn’t live there (burglars often do this to check if you are home)
- Person standing around (possibly acting as a lookout)
Neighbourhood safety is a shared responsibility and your Police Service wants to help. Take the first steps to ensuring your safety and let us know how we can help.
Report What You Saw
The last and most critical link in your neighbourhood safety chain is to give Police a call at the time you see something is happening. A timely call can stop an offender in their tracks or otherwise clear-up suspicious activity.
Tips For Neighbourhoods Experiencing Problems Including Criminal Activity
Unfortunately, criminal activity may not be so easily discouraged where crime has already taken root.
For neighbourhoods already suffering from a crime problem, it is important for residents to realize that the Police will require the assistance from the public in order deal with the criminal element and properly address the issues. This may include Crimestoppers tips from area residents, requests for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) audits and actions to deal with signs of disorder such as the spread of graffiti.
Contact Your Neighbourhood Police Officer
Neighbourhood Police Officers are specially trained to work in partnership with you and other service-delivery agencies to respond to neighbourhood crime, signs of disorder and other neighbourhood safety issues. Your Neighbourhood Police Officer is just a text or phone call away, and wants to help you resolve your neighbourhood safety problems.
Contact your local Neighbourhood Police Officer by phoning your local Police Division or the main switchboard number at 416-808-2222.
Crimestoppers is a partnership of the public, Police and media in which callers are encouraged through a cash reward to anonymously report criminal activity without fear of identification or ever having to testify in court. Crimestoppers and its services are available by telephone (number listed below), text or via the internet and a mobile app found on Apple ITunes, GooglePlay and Blackberry Appworld.
Dealing With Signs Of Disorder in Your Neighbourhood
It has been said that “physical changes appear to precede crime changes”. As such, it is vital that you take note of signs of disorder, such as graffiti and other acts of vandalism then report these to the City of Toronto through the 3-1-1 system. 3-1-1 provides easy access to non-emergency City services, programs and information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
3-1-1 can offer assistance in more than 180 languages.
To report a crime anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at: 1-800-222-8477(TIPS), online at 222tips.com or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637)
In an emergency, call 9-1-1
To report a crime to the Toronto Police that is not an emergency, call 416-808-2222