NEWS

West Island break-ins leave residents uneasy

11/14/2014 09:26 EST | Updated 01/14/2015 05:59 EST
Residents on the West Island are on edge after a rash of similar burglaries in residential areas, and they’ve taken to the internet to help make their neighbourhood safer.

Montreal police report there were at least 15 break-ins in October, with thieves cutting wires to phone lines and, in many cases, disabling home security systems.

“You feel violated,” said Carol, describing a recent robbery at her home.

She has lived in the Timberlea neighbourhood in Kirkland for almost 30 years.

“It's not like just grabbing a few electronics. They went through my underwear drawers and all my personal belongings,” she told CBC’s Daybreak.

Thieves took pieces of jewellery which were family heirlooms, electronics, and ransacked her home.

“I don't sleep very well. The first few nights I literally slept in a chair looking out the window,” said Carol.  “I might have dozed off but, I am not comfortable.”

Montreal police say there were eight break-ins in Kirkland and seven in Beaconsfield in October, and there are similarities.

“They are going in the daytime, between midday and 4 to 5:00 p.m.,” said Police Commander Richard Thouin of Station One.  “It’s the time when people are not there. It's the way they're working.”

Another Timberlea resident, KarineSaba, has begun a group on Facebook she hopes will help make the neighbourhood safer.

There are more than 1,000 people signed up to West Island Watch.  

Their goal is to keep a lookout for crimes or suspicious activities, and share the information.

“Most people are frustrated because they just want something to be done,” said Saba. “We're tired of this. It's just not a way to live, we're not used to it.”

Cmdr. Thouin said he has a task force dedicated to this break-in problem, with four full-time officers from Station One patrolling. The station covers BaieD'Urfé, Kirkland, Beaconsfield, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue and Senneville.

There are also patrols in Pierrefonds-Roxboro and Dollard-des-Ormeaux focused on the break-in problem.

Thouin has the following suggestions for residents to make their homes safer:

- do not leave anything outside that could help a burglar gain access to a window, such as a ladder, barbecue or recycling bin.

- always lock windows and doors even when leaving for a few moments.

- valuables should be locked in a safety deposit box or safe.

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