May 14, 2014 5:42 pm

Winnipeg police aim to prevent crime in River Heights

WINNIPEG – Police are going door to door as part of Operation Comet in River Heights.

It’s not a big organized crime operation or anything like it — thousands of homes and businesses in River Heights have received knocks on their doors the past week to make residents aware of increased crime in the last five years.

“This isn’t [just] a spike in River Heights, this is something city-wide,” said Sgt. Mike Brooker.

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Police stopped at Martha Graham’s home Wednesday afternoon and advised her to add a lock to her screen door.

“One time a number of years ago we could tell the front door had been jimmied,” Graham said.

Her neighbour, Bill Routledge, has had three brushes with crime. His house was broken into and two bikes and golf clubs were stolen.

“We’ve had people break into the garage and take some stuff,” said Routledge.

Routledge however didn’t do the one thing police are trying to stress through Operation Comet — report it.

“I didn’t bother calling police,” said Routledge.

Was his bike secure?

“No, it wasn’t locked up, it was in the yard but not locked up,” he said.

Winnipeg police say 94 per cent of crime in River Heights is property-related, including vehicle and home break-ins, and those increase during the summer months.

“We see a rise in this type of crime through the summer months with the weather,” said Brooker.

Residents who sleep with their windows open and leave them open all day in the summer months can be leaving easy pickings for criminals.

Don’t leave valuables in plain view and lock windows, doors and vehicles, police said.

“I won’t lie. I’ve gone out and left it open and returned an hour later and it’s been fine, so … yeah. I know we shouldn’t,” said River Heights resident Ainsley Bishop.

Along with canvassing the neighbourhood door-to-door, police will also ramp up their patrols in the area in the coming months.

For now, Operation Comet will only target River Heights, but it could be used in other west district neighbourhoods such as Crestview, St. James and Charleswood.

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