CHIEF CHATS: Protect yourself and your family this summer

Summer is in full swing and most of us are taking time away from work to travel, camp and enjoy our family and friends.

Summer is in full swing and most of us are taking time away from work to travel, camp and enjoy our family and friends. However for many of us that means we leave behind an empty house, leaving neighbourhoods vulnerable to property crime. But there are a number of ways to secure your home and reduce the likelihood of being the victim of criminal activity.

The Community Police Stations in Delta offer a free program called “Citizens are Security Active” or CASA that will send trained volunteers to your home while you are away to check for any suspicious activity and implement general security measures such as ensuring your mail is not piling up, while creating the impression there’s activity around your property. Our visible presence in the neighbourhood also acts as a deterrent; our volunteer fleet is clearly marked as Delta Police property and I’ve never known a criminal that wants to be around anything police-related.

Neighbours play a vital role in our home security as well. Let your neighbours and friends know you are away and leave a key with someone you trust. If you are leaving teenagers at home, be certain to have an adult stop in and check on them. Last month I wrote about the importance of knowing your neighbours in times of crisis and home security is based on the same principle. Neighbourhood safety runs on a spectrum; from the basic concept of looking out for each other during vacation times to the complexities around emergency preparedness. Nailing down the basics by getting to know your neighbours is a good start to having safer homes and communities.

While summer is a time for fun, it is also a time that brings a number of dangers. Much like protecting your home while you are away, there are basic principles to keep summer enjoyable while staying safe;

Do not drink and drive or operate a boat: rates of alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths has dropped substantially since the implementation of the Immediate Roadside Prohibition program, however we still see horrific accidents and this message cannot be repeated enough. Plan a safe ride home or the police will come up with an alternative for you.

Keep your children safe: the thought of a water-related accident strikes fear in any parent, and is one of the worst calls a police officer can respond to. Always use lifejackets on boats and keep the young ones in lifejackets when you are around lakes and swimming pools. Distractions are everywhere during social events and it only takes seconds for tragedy to occur.

Many accidents can be entirely avoided; protect yourselves using common sense and a safety plan. It is our wish that everyone has a safe and pleasant summer – be safe and get outside and enjoy the sunshine with your loved ones.

• Jim Cessford is chief of the Delta Police Department and has spent more than 40 years in law enforcement.

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