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Calgary’s 12 CSI offers crime prevention tips during coronavirus

A Calgary organization is continuing to act on the issue of crime prevention in their communities amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The 12 Community Safety Initiative (12CSI) is a local crime prevention organization that serves several East Calgary communities, such as Abbeydale, Marlborough, and Forest Lawn.

A whole community effort

For Larry Leach, 12CSI’s executive director, it’s important for his group to reach out to Calgarians.

“People that are isolating at home can be more proactive, have more time to contribute to their community and have fewer opportunities to gather together in large groups,” Leach said.

“The more eyes that are on the street and the more active the community is, criminals will see fewer opportunities for crime.”

‘Crime doesn’t stop’

Over the next week, 12CSI plans to post tips on their Facebook and Twitter pages. They’ll help Calgarians become proactive about community crime prevention during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“At a time like this, I think people should be mindful of what’s going on in their community. They have to remember that crime doesn’t stop like other things in the world,” Leach said.

Organization’s events affected by coronavirus

For over 12 years, 12CSI has organized many events, ranging from community action walks, education sessions, and town hall meetings.

As mass gatherings have been banned by the province due to COVID-19, Leach said that it has allowed them to adapt.

“It’s quite exciting in the sense that it presents a challenge for our organization,” he said. Right now they have two practicum students on youth initiatives and one working on social media.

“For our social media, she’s been putting together all of our messaging and crime prevention tips we’ve been putting out that we wouldn’t have done this week.”

Leach said that in normal circumstances, planning for events and other types of work would’ve been underway.

One of their events, ‘Focus on Safety’, would see 12CSI work with a professional from the field and educate people on how to be safe in their communities.

“Instead of doing that in a room, we’re looking at how we might be able to do that online. Offering it to people to get involved and still have that sense of connection,” Leach said.

Calgary Police providing tips

Over the past year, Calgary Police Service Const. Mark Smith said that they have been providing tips to Calgarians to reduce crime in communities.

“We’ve been posting prevention tips for businesses and going over all the measures owners can take,” Smith said.

“We’ve been running the 9 p.m. routine every night and reminding people to remove any valuables from their vehicles and ensure they’re locked up,” he said.

With a presence on Facebook and Twitter, Smith has been asked questions from the public regarding various issues.

“I get a lot of questions online from business owners who are asking those questions as to what they can do to increase security around businesses.”

Smith said that police have launched their online reporting system, which allows for more crime reports to be filed on their website, such as lost property, mail theft, or vandalism.

A ‘constant, physical presence’

Smith said police continue to have a presence around businesses in Calgary that have been closed due to COVID-19.

“Our patrol members are out there just to make sure they have a constant, physical presence around all the businesses,” he said.

“We want to remind business owners to make sure they have good CCTV and their alarms working.”

Smith said officers will continue to be in contact with business owners and let them know that everything’s going to be OK.

“These times are difficult for everyone. We’re all going through it as a community and we will get through this together,” he said.