Ask any neighbour that has experienced a home break-in and they will all agree it is a terrifying experience. The experience takes an emotional toll and often requires a lengthy period of time to feel secure. It is not unusual for victims of break & enters to move out in an attempt to regain a sense of personal security.
Khalid Sheikh, a long time resident of Brampton, recently moved to a new development just north of the Queen St / Chinguacousy area of the city. After moving in, he had his home broken into. Instead of living in fear and anxiety, he decided to organize his neighbours and take preventative action. He worries that “the elderly who stay home will get hurt if somebody breaks in” and he wants to prevent that from happening.
Before getting involved with Neighbourhood Watch, Mr. Sheikh contacted his local councillors and Peel Police to raise concerns about the break-ins that were happening in their neighbourhood. He also rallied his neighbours to participate in the meeting and share their concerns. He’s become a local home security expert and knows how to secure the vulnerable entry points in his neighbours home.
After going through the ordeal of arriving home to see his front door kicked in, Mr. Sheikh says he doesn’t want anyone that he knows to be violated in the same way. He worked with his home insurance company to secure all of the doors and windows to his home, installed security cameras, and worked with his neighbours to construct fences between their yards to make it more difficult for a thief to move around in their new development. He tells everyone who moves into a new development to do the same.
Mr. Sheikh also enrolled into the Peel Police Crime Prevention Academy this fall to get in-depth information from Peel Police and other subject matter experts. His neighbours are also considering participating in the local school council meetings to address issues at night in unlit areas of the school yard.
On average, break-ins happen in the city two times everyday. Everyday, two families go through the same process that Mr. Sheikh and his neighbours have gone through. Thieves are becoming brazen and will enter through the front door of homes during dinner hours. Keep in mind however that thieves normally don’t want to interact with anyone at home and will move on to another house if they believe your home is occupied.
A common mistake is to not answer the front door when someone knocks or rings the bell. As well, taking in your waste bins from the curb, cleaning up flyers on your front door, using timed lights, and trimming bushes around your front entryway are all basic tips that can go a long way in preventing your home from being targeted.
Mr. Sheikh and his neighbours are all joining Neighbourhood Watch Brampton to connect with other groups in the city and to stay informed with incidents of crime in his neighbourhood. He’s helping to develop language specific introductory videos so that elderly residents who are not fluent in English can better understand how the program works.