Community Policing and Building Safer Communities (aka Blockwatch)
Do You Know Your Neighbor? You Should!
We owe it to ourselves and our children to work together to create a safe and engaged community; a community where people know each other and are proud community members. We want a community where it’s safe for our children to play outside and walk to school.
Resources to help you get to know your neighbours, like the Federation of Calgary Communities & CPS My Neighbour Card can be downloaded here or collected from the NHCA office.
Host a Block Party!
Did you know that people who feel part of a community live longer and happier lives? It’s true – and hosting a block party is a great way to get to know the community around you. Meeting your neighbours and becoming involved is also a fundamental building block of creating a sense of safety in your neighbourhood, not only for you but for your children and other young people.
In today’s economy and front-drive-garage society, we sometimes forget how important our block is in grounding us and the children living there. Building relationships is building community – and what better way than a block party? It’s the 101 of Community Development, where fun, laughter, games and food actually help us to produce long-lasting benefits for our own families, and those around us. As adults, we all share in this responsibility, as it truly takes “a village to raise a child.” Instead of creating a culture of justice, let’s – as a society – create a culture of caring.
Start with something fun, by taking the lead in organizing a great day. A block party really is very simple to organize. Here’s how to get started:
- Pick a date and notify everyone on the block.
- Use a large driveway or back yard to avoid closing off the street – or plan to obtain the necessary permits from the City of Calgary (Roads) to close off the street.
- Let everyone know to bring their own meat to barbeque, a dish to contribute, lawn chairs for comfy seating and their own beverages.
- Assign someone to organize a few kids’ games.
- Ask other neighbours to provide a few picnic tables and find someone who can provide a large barbeque.
Instant block party! It’s that simple! Help build your community!
Building Safer Communities Program (aka Blockwatch)
Are you involved in a neighbourhood Building Safer Communities program? This is the replacement for Blockwatch, which is no longer supported, and is also based around Community Policing. Community policing is, quite simply, police officers and Calgarians working in partnership, to prevent crime, and to find long-lasting solutions to the problems that threaten public safety. This innovative approach to policing focuses on fostering positive relationships, engaging the community, getting to know your neighbours, and maintaining an open dialogue between the police and members of the community.
The reality is that police officers cannot be everywhere all the time. It is very important for residents to let police know of about suspicious or criminal activities going on in their neighbourhoods. This information allows for the allocation of appropriate resources to investigations and crime prevention strategies. The Calgary Police Service works with Calgarians to learn about community priorities, the needs of crime victims, and how to best serve our city.
Residents are encouraged to maintain positive relationships with their neighbours, local school officials and community organizations in order to have a better understanding of the dynamics in the community. This will allow for everyone to note when something is amiss, and to work together to keep communities safe.
Being a Blockwatch community is simple. Look out for each other and get engaged. Suspect something suspicious? Talk about it with your neighbors. Report it!
It is important to call CPS to report a crime FIRST, not post on social media! Call (403) 266-1234 to report suspicious individuals/vehicles, and crimes in your neighbourhood. Call 9-1-1 if a crime is in progress.
How To Report Crime
Reporting crimes committed against you or someone else is an important part in helping to keep yourself, your loved ones and your community safe. If you have information about a crime that has been or may be committed or about someone involved in committing a crime, your information may help the police solve crimes and prevent future crimes from happening.
You can report a crime in person, over the telephone and online. Depending on the urgency, choose the method that best suits your situation and makes you feel most comfortable.
Please call 9-1-1 for crimes in progress!
Calgary Police non-emergency line: (403)-266-1234
Calgary Police on-line reporting: www.calgarypolice.ca/onlinereporting.html
The Calgary Police Service encourages Calgarians to report all crimes, in order to identify trends and better direct their patrols. Citizen Online Police Report System: www.calgarypolice.ca can be used to report lost property or theft under $5,000 (except firearms, license plates or government-issued funds or ID), report damage/mischief to property or vehicle under $5,000, and report theft from vehicle under $5,000
Calgary Police in person reporting: you can report non-emergency crime by visiting your district office. Ours is located in the multi-services building, opposite Vivo, beside the Northpointe park and ride on Country Village Link NE.
Drug Tip Line: (403) 428-8100
The Calgary Police Service takes calls from people who want to report drug related crime and wish to remain totally
anonymous. The Drug Tip Line is one way citizens can assist police by providing information and without having to identify themselves or testify in court.
You can also report this via the SCAN Unit (Safer Communities and Neighborhoods; see below): 1 (866) 960-7226
Crime Stoppers – Talk, Type or Text: Call 1-800-222-8477, submit tips online at crimestoppers.ab.ca or text tttTIPS to 274637
Crime Stoppers is a non-profit organization that takes calls from people who want to report a crime and wish to remain totally anonymous
City of Calgary: 3-1-1
Report graffiti to the City of Calgary. There are also links to report persistent traffic concerns, view the latest crime maps, sign up to The Hub and more on the City’s website at: www.calgary.ca/cps/Pages/home.aspx
Sign Up to The Hub!
The Hub is the information headquarters of the Calgary Police Service where you can access news stories and announcements at your fingertips. Information on the Hub will be updated in real-time so that you can keep abreast of occurrences throughout the City.
If you want to be notified directly via voice message to your phone, text message to your cellphone, or by email, you can sign up to the Hub Messaging System. Create a user profile and specify how and what information you would like to receive. This information will be sent automatically to your device without you having to log into the Hub. Visit https://hiplink.calgarypolice.ca/websignup/wsulogin.html for more information and to register.
What is SCAN?
The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit helps Albertans to take back their neighbourhoods and deal with problem properties. Illegal activities are dealt with and safer and more resilient neighbourhoods are created for the families that live there. SCAN investigations can also assist police by providing information to support criminal investigations.
SCAN promotes community safety by targeting properties that are continually used for ongoing illegal activities such as:
- producing, selling or using illegal drugs
- solvent abuse
- unlawful sale and / or consumption of alcohol
- gang and criminal organization activity
If there’s a suspicious property in your neighbourhood, do not investigate it or approach the occupants. Report the property by either calling the SCAN toll-free line at 1-866-960-SCAN (7226), or
filling in the SCAN Complaint form at: www.solgps.alberta.ca/safe_communities/scan/Pages/SCAN.aspx
A member of the SCAN unit will confidentially and discreetly contact you about your concerns.
Signs of illegal activity
There are some signs you can look for to determine if a property is being used for illegal activity. Alone, any of these activities or signs may not necessarily mean that suspicious activity is taking place, but a frequency of these activities or a combination of them may indicate a problem. For more information, please visit www.solgps.alberta.ca/safe_communities/scan/Pages/SCAN.aspx
Some of the signs include:
- frequent visitors at all times of the day and night
- frequent late night activity
- windows blackened or curtains always drawn
- visitors with expensive vehicles
- unfriendly people who appear to be secretive about their activities
- people watching cars suspiciously as they pass by
- extensive investment in home security
- strange odours coming from the house or garbage
- garbage that contains numerous bottles and containers, particularly chemical containers
- putting garbage out in another neighbour’s collection area
How to Spot a Drug House in Your Neighbourhood
Marijuana Grow Operations are becoming a big problem throughout Calgary. The following are some of the signs to look for:
- Blinds on the main floor are always closed
- Frequent and unusual traffic (stop, enter garage, leave, different vehicles coming and going)
- Humming noises (wind/humming coming from the garage)
- Little property maintenance (do you see pride of ownership?)
- Strange odors (skunk smell every so often, solvents)
- Property alteration (covering windows/patio doors)
- They may wave and appear friendly. But do you know them? Have you seen inside their house?
These are just some of the things to watch for. If the house was recently sold and it appears that someone moved in, but you’ve never really met them be alert to the signs above. Talk about it with your neighbors. Become a member of your community’s Blockwatch and talk about it with them. People taking part in criminal activities want to go unnoticed. If they get noticed and reported, they will leave and eventually not come at all.
Crime Rates in the Northern Hills
Just a final note to ponder…
Please remember that although there may be a perception of high crime in the Northern Hills, in terms of the crimes per 1000 population, we are still one of the safest areas in the city. With the development of community blockwatches, and residents making themselves and their neighbours aware of what’s going on in our communities, it is becoming even safer.
For a review of what our CPS community liaison had to say in November, please see: CPS Update Nov 2015