Halton Police Update

File this one under REALLY?  So far this year Halton Police have laid almost 300 impaired driving charges. 

“Halton police report that since Jan. 1, 2010, 295 drivers on Halton roads have been arrested for impaired driving. A total of 123 impaired charges have been laid in Burlington followed by 87 in Oakville, 49 in Milton and 36 in Halton Hills. Police say that of the 13 traffic fatalities recorded in the region this year, alcohol was a contributing factor in four of them.”

It seems that with the increased awareness of the problem and more RIDE programs set in place, some people are not getting the message.  13 people in Halton died unnecessarily in my opinion.  Drinking and driving is totally preventable.  Just dont do it!

After our Milton Community Policing Committee meeting earlier this week, Const. Floyd said that Halton Police will be starting the RIDE program for this holiday season and will be out in full force.

It doesnt take that much of an extra effort to do the right thing.  The Champion article outlines a number of things you can do to help make our roads safer.

• If you plan to drive, don’t drink

• Choose a sober designated driver before partying

• Take public transit, a taxi or ask a friend to drive you home

• Spend the night where the activity is being held

• Immediately report impaired drivers to police

• Always wear your seat belt

Do the right thing…and help make this holiday season safer for everyone.  There are very few people who have had their lives affected by drinking & driving.  Either you know someone personally or know of someone who has lost a friend or loved one due to this totally preventable crime.

If you see someone who shouldnt be driving, try to stop them.  If not, call 911.  You could be saving a life!

And continuing with my previous post on Lock it or Lose it here is another article from the Milton Canadian Champion on unattended vehicles being stolen from peoples driveways.

Unattended, idling vehicles become stolen vehicles: police

Don’t let that warm car result in a cold walk this winter.As the Christmas season and the cold weather have returned, Halton Regional Police are issuing reminders to residents about precautionary measures they can take to prevent their valuables, including their vehicle, from being stolen.

Police say that between Nov. 3, 2009 and Jan. 14, 2010, 25 vehicles were stolen in Halton that had been left unattended and idling by their owners. Fifteen of those thefts occurred in Milton in the Derry Road community.

In Milton, leaving a vehicle unattended with the engine running is illegal under a town by-law and could result in a $75 fine.  An unattended running vehicle that is locked, even if it is in your driveway or in your garage, is still a target for thieves.

Police also warn about leaving car doors open or any items in plain view wherever you park your vehicle.

“Crimes of opportunity occur when we don’t take the necessary precautions such as locking our vehicles and placing items out of sight,” said a Halton police press release.

While there is no guarantee against becoming a victim of vehicle theft, or having your vehicle broken into, Halton police offer the following safety tips:

• Park in well-lit and attended areas

• Never leave your vehicle unattended with the engine running. Turn off the ignition and take the keys with you

• Always lock all doors and windows

• Never leave personal identification or valuables in your vehicle. Lock all valuables in the trunk. Don’t tempt thieves by leaving packages, cameras or purses in plain view

• Remove GPS navigation and cellphone devices when not in your vehicle

• Mount CD and MP3 players inconspicuously

• If you have a garage, use it and lock your car

• Never hide a spare key in your car

For more crime prevention ideas, visit www.haltonpolice.ca and follow the link to Community Policing.

And to illustrate this even further, here is this weeks Milton Police Blotter from the Champion.

BMW stolen while left warming

A 2006 BMW 325 valued at $30,000 was stolen from a driveway after the owner left it idling before his drive to work.  The incident on Huffman Crescent took place at 5:15 a.m. Monday.

Computer equipment taken from school

Overnight Monday, a portable classroom at St. Peter Catholic Elementary School on Dixon Drive was broken into.  During the incident a laptop computer and two Alpha Smart keyboards were taken.  Their estimated value is $2,200.

Car stolen during the day

A 2008 white Ford Edge was taken between noon and 9 p.m. November 17.  The car had been parked on Main Street East.

Milton Community Police Committee Update

As regular readers of the blog will know, I am a member of the Milton Community Policing Committee (MCPC)and we have monthly meetings about community outreach with the Halton Police Department and promote programs to help raise awareness of safety / crime issues in Halton.

Its been reported recently that despite the massive growth in the area, Halton remains the safest community in Canada. I think that’s a direct result of the officers in Halton and the great job they do.

During our meeting last night, they reported on some recent statistics of different crimes that are on the rise. A majority of them included car theft / property theft from peoples driveways.

In the last couple of weeks, Halton Police have had several incidences of vehicle theft as people start their cars in the morning and leave them unattended. Its important for people to realize that even though our community is “safe” there are still people from both inside and outside the region who are on the prowl looking for opportunities.

The MO of many of them are driving around neighbourhoods looking for unattended cars that are running, quickly checking to see if they are unlocked and driving off with them. The best line of defense is to either not let your car warm up unattended and unlocked or invest in an automatic car starter that locks the doors while its running.

Another disturbing trend is property theft from vehicles. People leave valuables like cell phones, wallets, laptops etc in plain view and that’s just too much of a temptation for criminals to do the quick smash and grab. The Halton Regional Police force are now embarking on a campaign to help raise awareness of this called “Lock it or lose it”

From the Halton Police website:

Lock It or Lose It

With the holiday season on the horizon, the Halton Regional Police Service would like to remind citizens to be cognizant and diligent by locking their vehicles and hiding valuable items.

Adhering to the following proactive recommendations may deter thieves from stealing your valuables:

1. Locking your vehicle and removing all valuable items from plain view. Items such as: GPS units, laptops, wallets, cellular phones and any other item of monetary value.

2. Simply locking your vehicle while valuable items are still visible inside provides a false sense of security. Thieves will smash the windows in order to gain quick access to these valuables.

3. Be particularly cognizant when purchasing expensive electronic equipment and then storing it in your vehicle. The best alternative is to transport these items directly to your home. If this is not a feasible option, lock the valuable item in the trunk of your vehicle.

4. Do not leave your vehicle running, unlocked and unattended while warming up in the driveway. Thieves have stolen vehicles from various driveways while they have been left operating unattended.

Don’t enable these thieves to steal your valuable items. Remove the opportunity and reduce your likelihood of being victimized.

Anyone with suspect information or information pertaining to any thefts is asked to call the Burlington Criminal Investigations office at 905-825-4747 extension 2316 or anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

One of the things that the MCPC will be doing in the coming weeks is handing out brochures with this information at high traffic areas like shopping malls, GO Station, grocery stores etc to help remind people to be aware of the surroundings and to do what they can to make it difficult for these types of crimes to happen.  We will be working with the principals of Milton schools to see if they can help distribute this information as well so it gets in the hands of people.

The Committee is always looking for more volunteers to help out and to join us and help take part in initiatives like this to help raise awareness in our own neighbourhoods.  There have been quite a few new people joining us and we’re always looking for more.  There are a lot of ideas that we would like to implement and the more people we have helping us out the better.  Send me an email mike@mikecluett.ca if you are interested in joining the MCPC.  We meet monthly and combined with our activities its not a lot of time to spend, but it is worthwhile.

You can find out more about the programs of the Halton Police on their website www.haltonpolice.ca

Are your kids “street proofed?”

The Champion has an interesting editorial on child safety this week.

There have been a number of attempted abductions of young children in the news the past few weeks, with some of these incidents happening in the Halton region.

Do your kids know what to do if they are approached?  I know I go over this with Anthony many times to make sure he knows what to do if ever confronted with a similar situation.  He knows that if anyone he doesnt know tries to grab or lure him into the car to say “NO”.  If that person continues to press, he knows to start yelling and run to the nearest neighbours house.  We’ve set up a password system so that if someones says they know his Mom or Dad, they have to give them the password or else he wont go.

Its a scary thought for parents.  The idea of someone coming into an area and trying to abduct any child sends shivers up the spines for many of us.   We have to ensure our kids know what to do if or when that situation arises.

This also leads me into the Milton Community Policing Committee and what we are planning to do with several schools in the area.  We are looking to set up a program with Principals to get as much information out to the kids as possible from the Halton Region Police Force.  This might include information sessions inside the school with members of the Halton Police Force, or regular letters to parents including some brochures on road safety, staying safe and street proofing.

There are a couple of schools we will be presenting this information to when they do their open houses in September including Tiger Jeet Singh Elementary School, PL Robertson among others.  If you would like more information on the MCPC visit the website and contact us if you’d like to get involved.

We will be having an information booth at the Downtown Milton Street Festival tomorrow all day long.  Regional Councillor Colin Best, myself and many other volunteers from the committee will be there to answer any questions you might have about local community activism, street proofing your children and road safety.  We will be more than happy to meet with you and discuss how you can get involved and help continue to make Milton a great place to live and grow our families.

Here’s the editorial from the Champion.

Jun 03, 2010 – 12:22 PM

Parents, children — be on guard

Several Halton incidents of children being approached by strangers

If your son or daughter was approached by a complete stranger trying to entice them into a vehicle, do you know how they would react?

Have you ever discussed with your children the possibility of such a scenario happening to them and what they should do if it does? If not, what are you waiting for?

Last week, Halton Regional Police issued separate parental warnings in Burlington and Halton Hills in connection with young people being approached by strangers with what can only be described as bad intentions.

In Acton, three incidents of an older white man, driving a silver four-door car trying to entice youngsters into the vehicle were reported over a five-day period at the end of April and start of May. Police determined that a fourth, more recent complaint by an Acton youth was unfounded.

Meanwhile, in Burlington last week, two teenage girls were approached by a male stranger in separate incidents occurring less than 40 hours apart.

In the first case, a 16-year-old was approached as she walked her dog May 25. A man described as black, with very short hair or bald, 35 to 40 years old and wearing a dark shirt struck up a conversation with the teen and attempted to entice her into his black, older model pick-up truck. When she refused he continued driving.

Then, last Thursday, a 15-year-old female was approached by an unknown man — described as black, in his late 20s or early 30s and driving an older blue pickup truck. He, too, tried to entice her to get inside his vehicle. When she refused, he briefly followed her to a parking lot before he fled the scene in an unknown direction.

Similar incidents have been reported in Milton in the past.

Halton police urge parents to remind their children not to approach anyone that’s not known to them and to always walk with a friend or a known adult.

Milton Community Policing Committee

I had a very brief meeting last night of the Milton Community Policing Committee (people were in a rush to get home to watch Canada vs. Germany in Olympic hockey) and I wanted to give a bit of an update as to what the committee is doing over the next year.

For those of you who are unaware of what the committee does, here is the mission statement of the organization:

logo3

The Milton Community Policing Committee’s purpose is to help promote a healthy and safe community, providing a means for residents, business owners, and community groups to communicate their concerns regarding public safety to all levels of government, and to work in a proactive and creative manner to address those concerns.”

The committee has been planning a number of events for 2010 which include taking part in the open houses of a number of new schools in Milton.  We will be having a table at the schools to inform parents, teachers and students of the committee’s presence and what we do. If everything works out, we will be having some local officers and fire fighters on site as well to teach kids about safety in and around our schools.

As you might have read in the Champion and in other papers, there recently was an attempted abduction of two children as they were going home from school.  Thankfully the kids knew exactly what to do and got home safely, called the police and the suspect was taken into custody.

Do your children know what to do in that situation?  What happens if the fire alarm goes off in school?  Does your family have an escape route planned in case of a fire or emergency in your home?

These are the things our local police and fire staff can teach both you and your children and that’s exactly why the MCPC are putting on these forums during the open houses.  All the dates and locations will be posted both here and on the MCPC website.

In addition to the schools, plans are now being finalized for a booth at this years Milton Street Festival on June 5th, 2010 in downtown Milton.  Close to 25,000 people are expected to flood Main Street this year and we will be there as well handing out information and answering any questions you might have.

We are always looking for people to join the committee so if you’re interested please email me mike@mikecluett.ca and I can provide you some details on how to get involved and help out making Milton a safer place to live.

Until then, I’ll see you at the doors.