Hamilton residents want more police patrols after rash of break-ins
East Richmond residents upset about a rash of break-ins since December want city council to dedicate more policing resources to their part of town.
They’re hoping to gather signatures on a petition they plan to soon present to city hall.
In December, Steven and Pennie Ly had their house broken into, and the thief made off with, among other things, a number of signed hockey jerseys intended as Christmas gifts.
The break-in spurred them into action, and Ly is now the Block Watch captain for several streets in the East Richmond community known as Hamilton.
There have been about a dozen break-ins over the past three months, including two last Friday.
“Our Block Watch believes that there are still many residents in the area who do not know that these incidents have been happening and are not taking the necessary steps to protect their families and homes,” Steven Ly said in an e-mail.
“We also believe that one of the contributing factors to the increase in crime is that there is very little police presence in the area due to our distance from City Centre.”
It’s a familiar refrain over the past decade from Hamilton residents who have often been assured by city councillors that more was going to be done for them.
One option long under consideration was building a community police station, but that still hasn’t materialized.
Coun. Derek Dang sympathizes with residents.
“We haven’t forgotten about them,” Dang said. “It truly does need (a community police station). We should be concentrating our efforts on doing that.”
Coun. Ken Johnston is city council’s liaison for Hamilton and said lots of infrastructure improvements have been made for that part of the city, including an expanded community centre.
“I’ve tried, certainly on a personal level, to engage with residents. I understand it’s a growing community and it’s very vibrant.”
Johnston committed to putting the policing concerns “at the top of my agenda.”
He added: “I feel we’re making things happen over there, and making them feel a part of the rest of the city.”
Pennie Ly said she’s hoping the growing community of young families will come together and sign a petition on Wednesday, March 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hamilton Community Centre, 5140 Smith Dr.
The RCMP’s property crime unit will give a presentation to homeowners on ways to improve their home security on Wednesday, March 16, at 7 p.m. at the Hamilton Community Centre.
“Certainly, a police presence would have a more deterrent effect,” said RCMP Cpl. Bill Lumsdon. “I think citizens should identify their concerns. We as a police unit are doing the best that we can.”
Daytime police patrols in East Richmond have been stepped up since the break-ins, but Lumsdon said that a mini-community police station, where officers could do some administrative work, would be a big boost.
Lumsdon said residents can take steps to make their homes less tempting for thieves to target.
There are safety tips, along with a regularly updated map of Richmond home break-ins, available on the city’s website at www.richmond.ca/homesafety.
Garage side doors and patio doors have been popular points of entry for thieves during the recent rash.