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Ogden to create neighbourhood watch program to combat rising crime

The Calgary community of Ogden is taking crime prevention into their own hands after citizens say a rise in crime has left them uneasy. 

Tracy Koudys has lived in the southeast community for more than 30 years. But only recently was her vehicle broken into in one incident, and lit on fire in another. 

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“I’ve had the whole interior of my vehicle replaced. Things go missing here. You can’t leave anything in your vehicle,” Koudys said.

“It’s gotten to the stage where you can’t even leave something out in your garden or it’s gone the next morning.”

Others in the community have reported Christmas and Halloween decorations being stolen from lawns. Prowlers have also reportedly been seen wandering around the neighbourhood in the early hours of the morning. The Jack Setters Arena, located in Ogden, has also been the target of graffiti artists over the last few years.

With Christmas nearing, Koudys said she wanted to create a neighbourhood watch to help make her community feel safer. 

The idea, according to Koudys, is to roam the streets of Ogden as a group. But she also wants to be able to help connect those in need with organizations that might be able to help. That could be as simple as lending people an iPhone. 

She also wants to work with the Calgary Police Service in creating a game plan for the group.

“I just want thieves to be aware that we’re watching. That we’re out there and we’re going to discourage them as much as possible,” Koudys said. 

Calgary Police warning people to be “hyper-vigilant” to combat crime

Back in October Calgary Police warned people to be “hyper-vigilant” as a result of a significant increase of break-and-enters throughout the city. 

The service said there’s been a 51 per cent increase in break-and-enter activity in the first seven months of 2019 compared to the five-year average. They estimated a residential break-and-enter happens almost every 2.5 hours in Calgary. 

As a result, CPS is encouraging people to incorporate a check system into their nightly routine. Including ensuring doors are locked, windows are shut and an exterior light is on.

“Property crimes are often crimes of opportunity and there are many things citizens can do to protect themselves,” Sergeant Doug Crippen of the CPS Break and Enter Team said in a release at the time.

“Right now police are seeing the vast majority of break-ins being committed due to unlocked doors and vehicles as well as windows and garages that are being left open. It’s not isolated to one neighbourhood, it’s happening throughout our city.

Koudys said she knows the situation Ogden is facing isn’t just happening in her neighbourhood. She expects more communities to develop their own neighbourhood watches if they don’t have one already.

“If we keep going like this, we’re going to be like some areas in Detroit or New York,” Koudys said.

“They sleep with guns under their pillows for crying out loud…I don’t want to be like that.”