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Elphinstone Chronicles: Here are some tips for staying safe

This week in the Elphinstone Chronicles, we have active community member Raquel Kolof as a guest columnist to talk about safety in the Elphinstone area as our community grows.
Hug your dog.

This week in the Elphinstone Chronicles, we have active community member Raquel Kolof as a guest columnist to talk about safety in the Elphinstone area as our community grows:  

Area E is a peaceful, dynamic and beautiful place to live, work and play. And we are fortunate that Area E is safer than most other areas in B.C. But our community is not without its issues. 

It used to be that the only real safety concern was whether a bear got into the garbage. We learned to keep attractants locked up and in turn kept our local bears safe. Prevention is the key. 

As our community grows here are some tips for staying safe. 

1. Get to know your neighbours. 

Your neighbours are the eyes and ears of local law enforcement and help make our neighbourhoods less vulnerable to crime. Neighbours are critical to identifying and reporting suspicious activity. 

2. Invest in surveillance cameras. 

Hardwired camera systems that automatically save footage to a DVR or upload to the cloud are ideal. Wifi cameras are less reliable. There are different cameras for different purposes, some work better at night, some are designed to see faces or licence plates. 

Pick the right camera for the right job. There are several security companies on the coast, such as Shoreline Home Security, that can design and install systems for your home. 

3. Install outdoor lighting. 

Nighttime lighting is an effective deterrent and as important as having cameras. 

Whether you choose lights that turn on dusk to dawn or motion sensors, light the area around your home so both you and your security cameras can see better. Try to have your nighttime lights point downwards as much as possible to protect nocturnal animals. All lighting should be positioned pointing away from security cameras to avoid glare. LED lights are better than other types when it comes to infrared cameras. 

4. Hug your dog! 

Dogs are one of the best security systems around. Our four-legged friends can see and hear far beyond our own abilities, so trust them when they alert you. Security is not enough of a reason to bring a dog into your home as they need to be well cared for and part of your family, but if you have a dog you are ahead of the security game. The Sunshine Coast SPCA has many family-friendly breeds looking for great homes right now. 

5. Complete a safety check around your house. 

Lock up valuables, don’t tempt people onto your property. Are all your window and door locks working properly? Do you have long screws in the strike plate and door hinges? Make sure your smoke detectors are operational, and your fire extinguishers are fully charged. Remove combustibles away from your house. Use a generic wifi name and make sure your network is secure. 

6. Check your insurance policy. 

Do you have the right coverage in place? Some people renew their insurance every year without checking the terms. Is your house valued accurately for the true cost of construction? Do you have full replacement costs in case of loss or is there a policy limit? Don’t forget to inform your insurance agent and adjust coverage when you add value to your home, or when you make significant changes. 

7. Offer help for those who are struggling. 

Crime can be a byproduct of larger societal issues. If you know someone who is struggling with addiction, let them know they can self-refer to one of the great counsellors at Sunshine Coast Mental Health and Addiction Services (604-885-6101). 

Another great resource is Gibsons Public Health, (604-984-5070), which Gibsons Public Health runs a 100 per cent confidential mobile program that drops off fentanyl and other drug test kits to your door. 

Let’s connect and experience amazing Area E! There’s lots to do here from supporting local small businesses, hiking Elphinstone forest, enjoying the sunset at Secret Beach, to visiting our cherished local farm stands, cideries and food trucks bursting with delicious goods. 

But most of all, take care of your family, friends and neighbours! Happy Spring! 

Please forward any Area E info to [email protected]