York Regional Police responded to a break-in in broad daylight in Newmarket Nov. 7 that is part of a rising trend.
The break-in took place on Wainscot Avenue. Video footage from across the street from a security camera shows the incident taking place just after 1 p.m., beginning when a black SUV speeds up to overtake a vehicle with two occupants just as it leaves the driveway of the house. Then, a few minutes later, the SUV returns, pulling into the driveway as a passenger wearing a face mask and grey hoodie exits and goes up the front door steps, where the door is out of view of the camera.
The suspect returns a minute later and the SUV departs, only to come back five minutes later. The video shows the driver of the SUV backing it into the driveway, then two people exit and head to the door. After about five minutes, the SUV departs while the suspects remain in the house. Two suspects are then seen coming down the steps, hooded and masked, one with a backpack, but they quickly turn around when seeing the SUV isn't there. It returns, and four suspects are seen leaving the house and entering the SUV, which departs.
The resident's vehicle returns shortly afterwards, pausing on the driveway, likely noting something was amiss, before pulling into a neighbour's driveway.
York Regional Police confirmed they received a call for a break-and-enter at that address and that the investigation is currently ongoing with few details available.
“Usually this will go to an investigative unit and crime analyst that will determine if it is related to a series of break-ins,” York Regional Police told NewmarketToday. “That takes time. Unless officers are in the area when the break-in occurred and someone calls it in immediately, the investigation will take time to identify suspects and make arrests.”
There were 1,797 crimes of breaking and entering reported to York Regional Police last year, with a rate of more than 124 per 100,000 people in Newmarket.
From 2021 to 2022, break-ins in York Region went up. There were 399 more break and enters in the region in 2022 than in 2021, according to York Regional Police's statistical report for 2022.
This rise comes after a steady decline each year from 2018 to 2021. In 2018, York Region had 2,518 break and enters with that number dropping to 2,399 in 2019, 1,564 in 2020, and 1,398 in 2021 before rising to 1,797 last year.
York Regional Police encourage residents in the community to take a proactive approach to keeping their homes safe, because they say that break and enters are often crimes of opportunity.
Police say that when you make it more difficult for thieves to break into your home, the more likely it is that they will move along.
York Regional Police Const. Lisa Moskaluk used to work in the serious and organized property crime unit and investigated serial residential break and enters.
Moskaluk, who’s passionate about break-and-enter safety, shared a few tips for the community to stay safe and do what they can to prevent break and enters when they’re away from home, whether day or night.
While ensuring windows and doors are securely locked might seem obvious, Moskaluk said that even when leaving for a short time during the day, it’s vastly important to keep everything locked.
She also says residents should consider upgrading their security system with a ring camera, motion lights, and audible/silent alarms and install solid doors and reinforce door frames.
Three easily attainable tips she recommends are using curtains or blinds to prevent intruders from seeing any valuables in your home, keep bushes and shrubs near windows trimmed to eliminate potential hiding spots for burglars, and avoid announcing your upcoming vacation on social media.
Working with your neighbours on the street can also be beneficial to keeping your homes safe, says Moskaluk.
“Ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property if you go away – shovel the driveway, mow the lawn, pick up newspapers, collect delivery packages left on your doorstep,” she said.
You can learn more about break-and-enter prevention from York Regional Police here.