County offering assessments of property to deter crime

Bylaw is offering residents and businesses a free Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) analysis of their properties, which Insp. Chris Narbonne is a great tool to help prevent community and property crime. Photo Supplied

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Crime prevention continues to be a major focus in Strathcona County and Bylaw Enforcement is offering residents some help.

Bylaw is offering residents and businesses a free Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) analysis of their properties, which Insp. Chris Narbonne says is a great tool to help prevent community and property crime.

“We’re seeing a lot of demands for the process, which will prevent issues from the ground up by looking at crime mitigation factors by simple engineered concepts through environmental design,” explained Narbonne, officer in charge of enforcement services in Strathcona County. “Sometimes it is as simple as yes a tree would look wonderful on your property but is that the best idea for your line of sight into the building. A bush or hedge would look great but would it be more dangerous for people at night.”

A CPTED analysis is a method that reduces the possibility of crime by changing a property’s physical environment.

“Having a well-covered yard may be inviting for individuals who have ill-intent and our officers are trained to recognize these high-risk factors and provide advice for individuals to explain how to make their property safer,” he said. “The demand we’re seeing is based on those types of requests where we are sending officers to homes, businesses, acreages, and industry to decide how to support the development of a property to a safe and high standard.”

Specially-trained officers conduct the audits free of charge and provide recommendations to improve safety on the property.

With the focus on CPTED analysis, the department is receiving more requests for the service.

The crime map offered by Strathcona County, which allows you to see what sort of crimes have been committed near your property recently, may be a contributor to seeing more people sign up for a CPTD assessment as well, according to Narbonne.

“The RCMP Crime Map that was released provides individuals in the community with better insight in their neighbourhood and may realize they are not immune in any neighbourhood to crime,” he said. “We are seeing an increase in demand for patrols, increase in demand for CPTED analysis and audit and lots of phone calls from residents asking what they should do to stay safer and we refer back to the CPTED trained officers to give that advice.”

You can get a CPTED assessment by contacting Enforcement Services at 780-449-0170, send an email to enforcementservicesinfo@strathcona.ca or by visiting the front counter at Enforcement Services at 911 Bison Way.

“We’re lucky to be a department that can provide front-line community policing and despite the fact that we’re a county of around 100,000 people, we’ve never lost the flavour of community-based policing,” he said. “We believe the time spent preventing crime is a massive payback to us and taxpayers because if crime is prevented, we don’t have to investigate it.”

A CPTED assessment can take anywhere from 20 minutes to a few hours and there would also be a follow-up visit a few weeks or a month later to see if there is anything more to be done.

“We follow-up with our people and stay in touch to find out how everything is working,” Narbonne said. “So far our success rate is very high.”

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