Compared to many other North American cities, Toronto can be considered a safe place to live. In 2004, it ranked as the 103rd most dangerous place on the continent. Amazingly, crime in the area has been declining over the years, and in the period between 1998 and 2008, it fell by a fantastic 33 per cent. Of course, crime (in this article, we refer specifically to burglaries) does not avoid our city completely, but it happens to a much lesser extent than in many other Canadian cities.
To paint a clearer picture of how (un)safe Toronto is when it comes to burglaries, let‘s compare it with Vancouver. Toronto has more than 2.5 million inhabitants, while only about 600,000 people live in Vancouver. Nobody would have guessed this huge population difference based on the number of break-ins in each of the cities in 2006. During the same period, Toronto had 388 break-ins, and even though its population is much smaller, Vancouver had about four times as many, an astounding 1,192. In March 2004, Toronto City Council adopted The Mayor‘s Community Safety Plan “to address the risks of increased violence and other criminal activity before they become reality”.
Partly thanks to this plan, the overall crime rate in the GTA keeps declining, although the results are somewhat mixed for break-ins. From 2008 to 2009, apartment break-ins declined by an amazing 15.3 per cent, and actual property crimes went down by 2.4 per cent, from 107,679 to 105,066. Sadly, though, break-ins to houses increased by 6.1 per cent over the year, from 5,074 to 5,384. Obviously, there is a need to protect our houses better.
One may want to start thinking about safety by living in a safer neighbourhood. Just like in every city, there are safer and less safe areas in Toronto. One of my previous articles already mentioned that the majority of the neighbourhoods in Central Toronto do not have very high burglary rates. On the contrary, the most dangerous areas with regard to burglary are neighbourhoods near the universities. The burglary rates reached their highest point in 2006, when York University Heights as well as the University of Toronto neighbourhood reported record numbers.
If you want to be well informed about the current crime and burglary situation in the city, I suggest you read the crime statistics for each Toronto neighbourhood published annually by the Toronto Police. You may also want to take a look at a map to find out which crimes happened in Toronto over the past few days and in which part of the city exactly. It is possible to follow the website on Twitter as well, but the Twitter updates are much less frequent. Nonetheless, it pays to be careful wherever you live.
The most simple and basic rule when it comes to helping to prevent burglary is (surprise, surprise) to close all the windows and lock the doors and gates when you leave the house. As natural as it seems, there are people who tend to leave the door unlocked for a quite a while and think nothing can happen — a big mistake. Always, always lock the doors, even if you leave your house for just ten minutes; just because you would never break into anyone‘s home, does not mean you can trust everyone else not to either. It is not wise to leave the keys next to the door in a flowerpot either: be careful and safe about storing your spare keys.
A dog could be of great help when trying to keep your home protected. It does not always matter whether you have a poodle or a Rottweiler. When you are home and someone tries to break in (yes, burglaries do happen while there is someone in the house, albeit less frequently), any dog will likely start barking and you will notice that something fishy is going on. “Dangerous” dogs can be more intimidating than cute little puppies when you are not at home, however some burglars might avoid your home altogether even if you just have a “Beware of Dogs” sign on your gate. Who says you have to actually have a dog, too?
What should you do when you are going on vacation? Do not make it look like you have left home at all. Ask someone to collect your mail, come to water your plants occasionally, turn the lights on inside (and turn them off, too), and make some "lived in noise". If it is completely dark and quiet in your house for days, your lack of presence at the house will be very noticeable. What burglars are looking for is an empty house, so do not make it so easy for them; try not to let them see that you are away.
We cannot forget about technical advancements either. It is a very good idea to install sensor lights outside the house. Many people get scared when they pass a building and lights switch on suddenly. Imagine how a burglar feels in that situation. They definitely do not want to be seen, so lights are a big inconvenience to them. To feel even more safe, a good alarm system is helpful. Ideally, it should be visible. If a burglar sees that your house obviously has an alarm system, they might just skip it completely and “do their job” elsewhere.
Blaze Alarms Systems in Toronto is offering Free alarm systems installations based on 3 year monitoring agreement, you will only need to pay for the monitoring service. Blaze Alarms is a company that has been successfully protecting homes in The Greater Toronto area since 1990. We have a special promotional offer on a Free Wired DSC Security Systems. You will feel much safer at home and much more at ease when you leave on vacation. Your place will never be completely unprotected.