Break-ins on the rise in Timmins during COVID-19 pandemic
TIMMINS -- Timmins police officials say there's been a "marginal increase" in the number of break-and-enters in the city.
They are asking residents to better secure their homes, sheds, garages and vehicles.
"There's an element of desperateness attached to their criminal behaviour," said Marc Depatie, communications coordinator for the Timmins Police Service. "And the fact that businesses are shuttered, for the time being, this causes the individual, the low-brow criminal, to focus on residences."
However, that doesn't mean businesses are not being targeted as well.
Noella Rinaldo, the executive director of the Downtown Timmins Business Improvement Area says some of its members have experienced broken windows and she asks business owners to check up on their buildings daily.
She says she does walkabouts every day; she checks to make sure doors are locked and she says she takes daily drives throughout the core.
"They're looking for quick cash, so as long as you take your cash, take your valuables, your laptops, and take them out of the office. Take them out of the building," she advises. "Keep your light on if you can, if there's a light you can leave on, and be sure everything of value has been taken out. I think you can do your due diligence and just keep checking on your building."
Rinaldo adds it's also wise to check for any flooding and that utilities are working or shut off.
She says with each passing day, fewer people are working downtown and the majority of businesses are closed.
Despite these uncertain days, she asks people to watch for signs with messages of positivity to pop up in store windows soon as reminders that business owners are looking forward to serving them once again.
Police officials also reassure the public that front-line staffing levels remain at optimum amounts, including a select team of officers to conduct property checks. They also ask people to call in anything they see that they think might be suspicious.