In our first LBNA Community Safety Survey, property crime emerged as the second-highest concern among Long Branch residents.
Imagine coming home at night and finding it looking like the above photo.
When you’ve been the victim of property crime, it’s also usually accompanied by a feeling of violation. Your personal space has been breached by someone. Items that have emotional value to you have been taken away or damaged by someone.
It will never be possible to eliminate the threat of property crime, but it IS possible to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of property crime.
An important step towards reducing that risk is to understand how criminals think.
Most police services – including the Toronto Police Service – train their officers on a triad of risk factors that are behind most crimes. The model consists of 3 factors: Motive, Means and Opportunity.
Motive is simply the reason why a criminal perpetrates a crime.
It could be any of a number of things: to fuel a drug habit, to get money, the thrill or a personal vendetta, to name just a few.
Of the three underlying factors for crime, Motive is not something we, as homeowners or tenants, can influence, let alone control. We just have to accept that and work on the other two factors.
Means deals with how the criminal commits his crime.
Means can include the tools needed to commit the crime, specialized knowledge or skills…..
Let’s look at two examples to better understand this.
Let’s say the means of entering a home or business is by picking the lock on the door. There are lock-picking tools burglars can acquire that enable them to manipulate the tumblers on a lock so they can open it. The burglar needs the knowledge of how to use these tools and the skill to actually open the lock quickly.
There’s probably nothing you can do to prevent the burglar from acquiring or using these tools.
For our second example, suppose the means of entering the home was by gaining access through a window on the second floor of the house. One way to access the second floor could be by using a ladder to climb up to the window. Another could be by climbing up a trellis or a railing of some kind.
This is where you, as a homeowner or tenant, can influence your risk of being victimized.
While our burglar using a ladder could bring the ladder with him (or her), it would be very obvious to someone looking out their window or passing by in a car.
It’s more likely the thief would try to use a ladder he found on your property. Or, as we suggested, he could try climbing up a trellis or railing or stand on recycling or garbage bins to be able to reach the second floor.
If you keep your ladder locked up – ideally in a locked garage or shed – it makes it much more difficult for a burglar to be able to use it.
The factor over which you have the most control is opportunity. But we’re going to save that for another post. Watch for it!