After moving back to live and work in Chatham and Windsor, I’m often asked: “do you feel safe living here?” or “are Windsor and Chatham safe places to live?” My honest answer is a “qualified yes.” The truth is that crime incidence differs from one neighbourhood to another. For example, there are certain communities in metropolitan Windsor where crime is more prevalent, such as near the Casino and other pockets around Sandwich Town or near the Ford plant. On the flip side, the towns of Amherstburg, Essex and LaSalle have been ranked among the safest places in Canada in 2018. But I wouldn’t be raising my family here if I didn’t feel it was a safe community. The key to having peace of mind that your Chatham or Windsor neighbourhood is safe, is to find out the facts about local crime in your community and then take steps to protect your family and property. As we note in an earlier post, Windsor Crime Update: Property Crime on the Rise knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your family’s safety. The more you know about potential crime, the easier it is to shore-up any vulnerabilities, making your home as safe as possible. In this article, we’ll offer a brief overview of crime statistics in both Windsor and Chatham, and outline the steps you can take to protect your home and loved ones from break-ins or other property crimes.
What do crime statistics tell us?
First, let’s put this into a Canadian perspective. In Canada at a Glance, Statistics Canada reported that in 2016 there was a total of 1,163,647 reported “property crimes” in Canada, with more than 159,000 of those being “breaking and entering”. So while we’ll explain below that Windsor has seen an increase in crime over the last few years, with break and enter, fraud and robbery levels higher than the national average, thankfully, homicides, firearms and assault levels were all below the overall Canadian average. [caption id="attachment_1800" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]
A snapshot of criminal activity in the Walkerville area[/caption]
Crime statistics in Windsor
According to a CBC Windsor report, Statistics Canada data indicates an 18.76 per cent increase in the city’s crime rate in 2018 — “about three times the increase between 2017 and 2016.” In addition, the Crime Severity Index (CSI) – “which measures changes in the level of severity of crime in Canada from year to year” – also rose by 23 per cent since 2017.
Home security concerns in Windsor
Most important for Windsor homeowners, were the increases in crimes such as:
- Breaking and entering
- Motor vehicle theft
These statistics are representative of the entire Windsor “census metropolitan area” which includes the City of Windsor, Amherstburg, Lakeshore, LaSalle and Tecumseh.
Crime statistics in Chatham
As we noted earlier, many communities in the Chatham-Kent area considered some of the safest places to live in Canada, with one of the lowest rankings for violent crimes. At JM Security Canada, we also studied crime patterns in Chatham on the Interactive Crime Map. While some areas in Chatham have higher crime rates than others, none are entirely crime-free. [caption id="attachment_2653" align="aligncenter" width="950"]
Historic downtown Chatham has beautiful foliage, parks, plenty of parking, festivals, world-class entertainment and plenty of shopping to offer for all ages.[/caption]
Chatham home break and enters worth noting
As a recent report from Blackburnnews.com suggests, “Chatham-Kent is below average in almost every crime statistic and would rank among the lowest in total crime, if it wasn’t for break and enters.”In 2017, the Chatham Voice confirmed this, noting that “Crime Snapshot statistics” suggest that “robbery, drugs, break and enter to residences and vehicle theft topped the increase list, with robberies going up 190 percent”. Apparently, one of the key areas of concern among property crime increases, is the number of break and enters on detached garages and sheds in Chatham. To respond to these property crime increases, the City of Chatham has implemented programs, such as the Bicycle and Surveillance Camera registries.
Statistics versus our personal comfort level
As I noted in my answer to the question: “are Chatham and Windsor safe?” our personal safety and home security vary from one neighbourhood to another. But it also comes down to each individual person’s or family’s comfort level. An article I read from the New York Times, suggests that we actually “live in about the safest time in history, as far as we know, but people are more fearful.” The article quoted Barry Glassner, a sociologist and the author of “The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things”, who suggests that we “hear one story about a loved one’s house getting ransacked and panic sets in.” In our professional experience at JM Security Canada, we also find that many of our customers invest in a home security system after hearing that a friend, relative or neighbor had a break-in. Installing a home security monitoring system will definitely provide you with peace of mind, but there are also many simple steps you can take to try to prevent break-ins.
Protecting your Chatham/Windsor property from crime
Now that we’ve offered a realistic snapshot of the crime statistics in your Windsor or Chatham community, here are four steps you can take to stay on top of local crime risks, identify and resolve your home’s vulnerabilities to these crimes, and gain peace of mind with a home security system.
1. Staying informed about crime in your community
To stay informed about the type of and local incidence of crime in Windsor, you can regularly check out the crime reports map for a detailed report of crime provided by the Windsor Police Services. In Chatham-Kent, you can check out Crime Stoppers, for information about local crime in the area. JM Security Canada has partnered with the Chatham-Kent Crime Stoppers to get the word out as well as helping advise local residents and businesses about how to secure their properties to reduce burglaries or break-ins. For updates, you can follow us on our social media platforms or subscribe to our mailing list.
2. Identify your property’s vulnerability to crime
We offer Five easy steps you can take to protect your home against intrusion in a recent post on our blog. But you might also want to conduct a more in-depth assessment of your home security by downloading our free Home Security Assessment e-book that includes a 29-point Home Security Checklist.
3. Burglar-proof your home
After you conduct an assessment of where your home is most vulnerable, you can make some home improvements that will help burglar-proof your home. For example, you might need to:
- Strengthen or change doorjambs
- Add a strike plate or new hinges to your door
- Replace a door handle lock with a deadbolt
- Repair a broken window locking mechanism
- Trim shrubs or trees for better visibility
- Add outdoor lighting to your home and shed areas
- Repair loose hinges and add a strong lock to garden shed doors
These simple fixes can be very impactful. For example, at the start of the summer season, back in May, “The Crime of the Week” reported on a break-in at a home on in Windsor. Apparently, a homeowner was returning home and saw a burglar running through their cedar hedge carrying a duffle bag. It turns out the thief stole a cell phone, a laptop computer and jewelry. This was a brazen daytime robbery that might have been prevented with effective door or window locks and landscaping that did not offer the thief cover from the street.
4. Invest in a professional home security system
The final step in burglar-proofing your home is to install a professional home security system and clearly display signage indicating that your property is monitored by video recording devices and alarms. Since thieves are looking for the path of least resistance, this is an immediate crime deterrent. If you are just getting started investigating home monitoring systems, you can check out our detailed guide: How do security systems really work?. For an in-depth look at full home automation or “Smart Home” systems, you can read our Comprehensive Guide to Home Automation – Canadian Edition.
Start small, but be sure your equipment is high quality and your provider is local
You can start your home security system process by taking small steps and building from there. For example, you might begin by installing a security camera at your front door, along with an alarm system. But be sure you look for a high-quality solution. At JM Security Canada, our systems may be slightly more expensive but that is because we care about great quality, and we prefer to provide a system that serves you well from the beginning, with the capability of adding more features and functionality at a later date. Be sure to shop local. When you are looking for professional home security companies, be sure you look for one that provides local, professional installation as well as 24/7/365 home support. We hope you found this article helpful in making you feel safe in your Windsor or Chatham home.If you found this resource helpful, we’d appreciate you sharing it with someone in your family or personal network. If you’d like to speak with one of our representatives about your security options, contact us here.