On Monday, December 16, Annette Luttermann stepped out of her home for just an hour to attend to some errands. When she returned, she realized that someone had entered her home through the back door, and cleared out her home of its electronics and other valuables.
It was the fourth robbery she has experienced since moving to Golden 10 years ago, one of which was a violent robbery in the middle of the night.
“I work from home, so now I’m very nervous that someone will walk in here in the middle of the day,” said Luttermann. “My daughter can’t sleep at night because of the break ins in the middle of the night.”
Enough is enough for Luttermann, who has decided to take matters into her own hands with the creation of a neighbourhood watch program.
According to her, communities with a program like the neighbourhood watch often experience up to a 30 per cent drop in the crime rate.
“If we all just ignore this, these thieves will have free range, even in broad daylight,” said Luttermann. “If we have a coordinated approach to provide support through communication with neighbours, we can make sure that reports of suspicious activity are communicated and shared.”
Luttermann would like to partner with the local RCMP to reduce the amount of crime, in order to prevent this from happening to other people.
While the idea for a neighbourhood watch is still just in its infancy, the support on Facebook has already been huge.
“All kinds of people are saying that they would absolutely like to join this program,” said Luttermann. “I think people are vulnerable in a small community, because people are trusting in a small town. You feel like you know everyone, and you want to trust your neighbours.”
The program would emphasize data and evidence collection of suspicious behaviour, so that in the event of a crime, there is evidence there to support a police investigation. Too often robberies such as this one hit a wall in their investigation due to a lack of concrete leads and evidence.
“The police can’t do too much unless they have evidence, and the cycle just continues on,” said Luttermann.
The RCMP recommends keeping doors locked at all times, even if you are just in your backyard. Keep your vehicle locked at all times, and keep vacation plans off of social media. Cst. Spencer Lainchbury also recommends recording serial numbers of valuables, which not only helps with the investigation, but with recovering stolen property and returning it to its rightful owner as well.
While the robberies have certainly shaken her, Luttermann hasn’t let the experience dampen how she feels about Golden as a community overall.
“I think that the majority of people in this community are good and decent people,” said Luttermann. “I don’t feel particularly unsafe here, I’m pretty sure these types of things are perpetrated by a small group of people.”
For more information on how to prevent break-ins, visit the RCMP website for a list of tips.