Keep Your Home Safe From Thieves This Holiday Season

There are many important steps we can take to keep our home safe from break-ins over the holidays, as we travel and bring new gifts home. Most break-ins are opportunistic burglaries, and Christmas is the time when many thieves are looking for the insecure home.

You can help prevent thieves targeting your home by carrying out a few simple common sense measures.

Always lock all outside doors and windows when you go out, including garage windows and doors, especially if the garage has an internal door leading to the main house. Lock your garden tools and ladders away and always keep your house keys in a safe place. Burglars know to look under a mat, pull the string and key through the letter box, or move the large stone near the front/back door.

When heading out for the evening, put a light on, put the radio or TV on and leave a small gap in the curtains so that a light can be seen.

If you are going away for a longer time, use timers to control Christmas lights and indoor lamps, and ask a neighbour to take in your mail and newspapers and clear your walks and driveway of snow when needed. Consider having a trusted person spend some time inside your house each day. If you leave a car in the driveway, consider having that same person move it periodically to make it appear as if its being used.

Turn your telephone ringer off and don’t leave outgoing phone or email messages to indicate that you are away. Be careful of posting information about your travel plans or expensive gifts on social media.

Do not display your Christmas tree & gifts in a window visible from the street. Criminals may be tempted to smash the window to steal packages or plan a break-in. After Christmas, do not leave empty gift boxes by the garbage or put them our for curbside recycling. This is an advertisement for thieves. Collapse the boxes, cut them up to conceal the items or take them directly to your community recycling depot.

Review your home insurance plan, and be aware that there are limits for how long your home can be left empty for coverage to remain valid.

Insurance agents are encouraged to review these tips with their clients, as well as to be aware of the limitations of their client’s insurance policies.

Are you an insurance agent looking to boost your home insurance knowledge? ILScorp offers a variety of accredited online continuing education courses, as well as licensing programs. Many of our most popular courses are on sale for the month of December. Visit to learn more.

Preventing parking lot theft

Those shopping bag full of pricey electronics and fancy jewelry that are sitting in your backseat will no doubt make some loved ones happy this holiday season, but they could also be irresistible to thieves.

As the shopping season is in full swing, many people are flocking to malls and big box stores to get their lists checked off. However, this is also the season when thieves become more active, often targeting shoppers who are carrying more cash and presents.

“We want to believe the holidays are filled with kindness, peace and joy, but there are people out there haunting parking lots in hopes of taking advantage of the season,” said Mark Desrochers, president, personal lines at The Hanover in a statement.

“Because a car break-in can be traumatic and leave you feeling vulnerable, and also bring with it car repair and replacement costs, we thought it was important to remind shoppers to be prepared before you hit the stores. We want to help to ensure you can enjoy the spirit of the holiday, without it being tainted by theft.”

To be safer in parking lots and garages during the holidays and year-around, The Hanover recommends the following tips:

  • Choose Your Spot Carefully — Do not park close to bushes, trees, walls, large vehicles, or any other obstruction that may provide a cover for criminals. At night, park in well-lit areas, ideally where others are coming and going.
  • Keep Your Valuables Out of Sight — Hide or remove anything valuable from the vehicle. Tablets, laptops, smart phones and navigational systems are popular targets for car burglars. They are easy to steal and conceal. If possible, leave them at home — or at least — hide them out of sight. If you accumulate shopping bags during the trip, store them in a locked trunk.
  • Lock-up — All doors should be locked and all windows should be shut tight. Don’t forget to lock the trunk if it doesn’t lock automatically when you lock your doors. When returning to your vehicle, lock your doors immediately upon entering.
  • Use Alarms — Set your car alarm before leaving your vehicle. If you do not have one, consider having one installed. Alarm stickers and decals are great visible deterrents. Others include steering-wheel locks and brake-pedal locks.  Even carrying simple items like a whistle, can be helpful to draw attention and ward off thieves.
  • Be Alert — Always be aware of your surroundings, when parking and returning to your vehicle. Keep your keys in hand when returning so you can enter your vehicle quickly. It is always a good idea to check your back seat before entering your vehicle to be sure no one hiding inside.

Lock It OR Lose it Campaign

Source: IBC

Ontario’s Police Leaders want motorists to Lock it OR Lose it when it comes to their vehicles and valuables. The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) launched its annual Lock It OR Lose It campaign, which encourages drivers and passengers to take precautions to protect their vehicles and contents from theft, particularly during the holiday season.

The campaign was kicked off at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto.

“Locking your vehicle and keeping valuables such as GPS and mobile devices, laptops, shopping bags, money and credit cards out-of-sight can go a long way in deterring criminal activities.” said Chief Kimberley Greenwood, the OACP’s First Vice-President and Chief of the Barrie Police Service.

This year’s Lock it OR Lose it campaign is being launched during the holiday season because it’s easy for people to be distracted and leave their vehicle unlocked or leave valuables in plain sight during the holiday hustle-and-bustle. Police will use Lock it OR Lose it notices throughout the year as part of their on-going crime prevention efforts.

“The insurance industry is proud to work with the OACP to support the Lock It OR Lose It campaign,” said Steve Kee, Director of Media and Digital Communications, Insurance Bureau of Canada. “Between 2015 and 2016, we saw an overall increase of 1% in auto theft across Ontario.  Let’s not make it easy for the thieves. Leaving your vehicle unlocked or valuables in sight is an open invitation to thieves. We must be vigilant in fighting this crime.”

During the Lock it OR Lose it campaign, police officers, auxiliary officers, and crime prevention personnel examine parked vehicles to confirm they are locked and that no valuables have been left in plain view. A small notice is placed on vehicles advising what safety precautions were neglected and offer simple prevention tips for drivers to protect their vehicles against theft. The notices also congratulate drivers who have secured their vehicle.

Motorists are urged not to keep personal documents such as vehicle ownership, liability pink slips, credit card invoices, or other documents containing personal information in their vehicles. Identity thieves are looking for such documents so they can assume identities, secure credit card accounts, lease vehicles for export, and even take out a mortgage against victims’ properties without their knowledge.

The OACP thanks the Accident Support Services International, Arrive Alive/Drive Sober, Insurance Bureau of Canada, Mac’s Convenience Stores, Smart Serve Ontario, and Trace™ for supporting LockItORLoseIt crime prevention initiatives across Ontario.

Developer sentenced to 3 years in $12M soccer stadium scam

A developer convicted of defrauding taxpayers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in a failed effort to build a professional soccer stadium in Connecticut has been sentenced to three years in federal prison.

James Duckett Jr. was sentenced Wednesday, December 6, 2017 on 12 counts of wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. He was found guilty in July.

Duckett and another developer had been hired by Hartford to oversee development of a $12 million, 9,000-seat stadium.

But prosecutors allege Duckett and his partner never paid subcontractors and directed more than $1 million from the city to support a lavish lifestyle for Duckett and expenses unrelated to the stadium project.

The Major Arena Soccer League dropped the team before a game was ever played.

Duckett’s lawyer says the payments to him were compensation for his work.


IBC releases 2017 Top 10 stolen vehicles list

Source: IBC

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) published on December 5, 2017 its annual Top 10 Most Frequently Stolen Vehicles list. High-end luxury SUVs are the most commonly stolen vehicles in Ontario.

This year’s 10 most frequently stolen vehicles in IBC’s Ontario region are:

  1. 2016 Toyota 4Runner 4-door 4WD SUV
  2. 2015 Toyota 4Runner 4-door 4WD SUV
  3. 2006 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD and GMC Yukon 4WD SUVs
  4. 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 2WD Pick-Up
  5. 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD and GMC Yukon 4WD SUVs
  6. 2006 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 4WD and GMC Sierra 2500 4WD SUVs
  7. 2003 Hummer H2 4-door 4WD SUV
  8. 2002 Chevrolet Tahoe 4-door 4WD and GMC Yukon 4-door 4WD SUVs
  9. 2014 Toyota 4-Runner 4-door 4WD SUV
  10. 2005 Buick Rainier 4-door 2WD, Chevrolet Trailblazer 4-door 2WD and GMC Envoy SUVs

Quoting Statistics Canada as the IBC source, Donaldson noted that Guelph, Ontario reported the largest auto theft activity increase in Canada at 49%. Windsor reported a 14% increase and St. Catharines experienced a 5% increase. Of Ontario’s two largest cities, Toronto reported a 4% increase while Ottawa experienced a 1% decline. Theft was also down 17% in Sudbury, 12% in Barrie and London, 9% in Kingston, and 1% in Peterborough and Hamilton. In Ontario, the rate of recovery for stolen vehicles increased to 60%, up 2 per cent from last year.

Regina police clock driver going 183 km/h in city construction zone

Police in Regina are looking for the lead-footed driver who they say blasted through a construction zone at 183 km/h.

They say officers had a speed trap set up on one side of the city’s Ring Road highway and noticed a maroon-colour Nissan sports car _ either a 350z or a 370z _ roaring along in the other direction.

They managed to clock the speed at more than three times the limit for a construction zone, but couldn’t give chase because the car was travelling the other way.

Police say there were workers on the site at the time.

Speeding in construction zones has been a focus for Saskatchewan authorities since the high-profile 2012 death of 18-year-old Ashley Dawn Richards.

She was working as a flag person near the community of Midale when she was struck and killed by a speeding SUV.


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