Patrols up, break-ins down

Break-ins to houses on the decrease with police program

  • Aug. 8, 2011 8:00 p.m.

House burglars have been staying away from Oak Bay, after an unusually high spree in July.

While the last half of July brought eight break-ins, there were none reported in the first week of August.

Oak Bay police have increased patrols in Uplands and other targeted areas, by vehicle, bike and foot. Officers also attended the homes of people who reported a prolonged absence, to ensure the house is secure.

In some cases, they have also relocated mail and newspapers to remove any obvious signs the house is unoccupied.

“There has been a lot of focus placed on crime prevention initiatives,” said Deputy Chief Kent Thom.

July’s break-ins were not only higher than usual, but also more intrusive, he said. While typically, thieves break into a shed or underground parkade, recent thefts have been from homes, he said. “It’s more personal when it’s a jewelry box in the master bedroom.”

To date, almost two dozen homeowners have registered their vacations with police, including one calling from Scotland after reading about the program on the Oak Bay News’ website.

It’s the only program of its kind that Thom is aware of locally.

“I don’t think most municipalities can provide this service,” he said, adding the higher police visibility helps.