Crime Prevention & Safety Tips
Living in Northern Ontario, some of us will come across wildlife, including bears. While negative encounters with animals are rare, bear sightings are quite common in Sault Ste. Marie and Prince Township.
If a bear poses an immediate threat to personal safety please call 911 for police assistance.
If you notice a nuisance bear, such as one that is checking garbage cans, sheds, and or birdfeeders, please notify the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry by calling their toll free number 1-866-514-2327.
To prevent bears from being attracted to your property:
- Keep your property clear of garbage, ripe berries and other food sources that may attract a bear
- When using a barbecue, make sure to clean it on a regular basis
- Do not leave pet food outdoors or in screened-in areas or porches
If you find yourself in a situation with an angry or agitated bear, please follow the below instructions as laid out by the MNRF.
- Slowly back away while keeping the bear in sight and wait for it to leave.
- If the bear does not leave, throw objects, wave your arms and make noise with a whistle or air horn.
- Prepare to use bear spray.
- If you are near a building or vehicle get inside as a precaution.
- Run, climb a tree or swim — a bear can do these things much better than you
- Kneel down
- Make direct eye contact
For more detailed information, please reference the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry Bear Wise program by going here.
The closure of some businesses in Ontario to address the spread of COVID-19 may cause business owners to worry about the security of their business and property.
Belo is a list of tips for business owners that may help prevent crime to their business and property.
We suggest business owners;
- Remove valuables from storefronts to help reduce smash-and-grab thefts;
- Remove all cash from the till and leave it open. Place cash tray in plain view on the counter to signal there’s no money in the till;
- Remove all signs from windows so police are able to easily see inside during patrols;
- Consider installing an alarm monitoring system. If you already have one, ensure the contact list is up-to-date;
- Clearly post signage on the door/window to indicate the premises are monitored by an alarm company and that no money is kept on the premises. Include contact information for police and the business owner in case a member of the public sees damage to the property or suspicious activity;
- If the premises are closed for an extended period of time, clean all glass surfaces and create a tracking log of when cleaning was completed. This may help investigators with suspect fingerprints in the event of a break-in;
- Consider installing a surveillance camera system that can be monitored online by the owner and/or management;
- Consider using a laminate on all windows and glass doors to prevent the glass from being broken from blunt force. Although damage to glass will occur in a break-in attempt, it will greatly discourage or prevent entry;
- Install latch guards on doors to protect against prying, including on secondary doors such as employee and loading entrances;
- Keep some lighting on inside for surveillance opportunities during the evening;
- Ensure all doors are properly secured and regularly check all exterior lighting is functioning; and
- Remove any material around the exterior of the property that may be used to gain entry into the premises such as bricks, metal poles and construction materials.
By following all or some of these tips you will better protect your business and your property.
Sault Ste. Marie and Prince Township, like many other communities across North America, are currently dealing with an opioid crisis.
We are committed to supporting community partners in helping individuals who are experiencing opioid addiction issues.
If you or someone you know is using opioids, get a naloxone kit. They are free and could save a life. They are available at a number of local locations. Find them here.
You may come across needles or sharps disposed of improperly. Please remember, sharps may pose a risk of physical harm or serious blood borne infections if handled inappropriately. If you choose to dispose of a found object, please follow these safety tips;
- Touch the object
- Recap a needle
- Bend a needle or sharp
- Purposely break or remove the needle from the syringe
- Use a pair of tongs, pliers or tweezers to pick up the needle or sharp. It is best to wear rubber gloves.
- Pick the needle up by pointing the needle tip down and away from yourself
- Put the needle in a hard plastic container, like a pop bottle, several millimetres thick with a tight lid and tape the lid shut
To learn more about how to get help for addiction, how to dispose of found needles or sharps or naloxone kits; please visit Algoma Public Health
Elder abuse is often defined as any act or lack of action, within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust that harms a senior and causes them distress or risks their health or welfare.
There are different forms of elder abuse but they often take place in the home or a residential setting. Elder abuse can be a result of family, friends, paid care givers or others in a position of trust or authority.
The abuse can be physical, emotional and financial. Situations like this can be stressful for families and loved ones of the victims.
Signs of elder abuse include;
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Unexplained bruising or injuries
- Neglect of the individual, such as lack of hygiene, food or appropriate clothing
- Failure to meet financial obligations or unusual bank withdrawals
To learn more about the warnings signs and risks of Elder Abuse, please visit the Ontario Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility.
To learn more about the risks and warning signs of Elder Abuse and Fraud, watch our two part video series, Silent Alert.
At any time, and without warning, an emergency can happen. In Sault Ste. Marie and Prince Township, we could experience emergencies as diverse and unpredictable as severe weather, power outages, or an evacuation event.
Now is the perfect opportunity to take a look at your home and business to reduce risk and ensure you are prepared to cope on your own for at least the first 72 hours of an emergency while rescue workers help those in urgent need.
Preparing for an emergency is something the whole family can do. By following a few easy steps, you can become better prepared to face a range of emergencies and minimize the impact of a potential disaster.
- Know the risks – Although the consequences of disasters can be similar, knowing the risks specific to your community and region can help us better prepare.
- Make a plan – It will help you and your family to know what to do if disaster strikes. We should all practice what to do in different emergency situations.
- Prepare an emergency kit – During an emergency, we may need to get by without power or tap water. Be prepared with basic supplies, enough to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours in an emergency.
The definition of a hate crime is complex. This falls under two areas of the Criminal Code, sections 318 and 319. Not every act of discrimination can be classified as a hate crime. That doesn’t mean we can’t assist when people feel targeted by acts of discrimination.
A hate crime is a crime motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, nationality, ethnicity, language, colour, religion, gender, age, mental or physical ability or sexual orientation of the victim.
A hate/bias incident may include name calling, racial slurs or the distribution of material promoting prejudice, and is motivated by the same factors as hate crime. It might not necessarily fall under the Criminal Code of Canada.
We recognize the impact hate has on our community and we are committed to being part of an inclusive and welcoming community. Our community is evolving, which means more people from outside our region now call Sault Ste. Marie and Prince Township home.
We want everyone to feel welcome here and to enjoy life in the north.
If you are experiencing racism or discrimination based on your ethnicity, sexual orientation or how you identify, you have options. In an emergency situation always call 911 immediately. If you have concerns or questions call our business line, 705-949-6300, and someone will talk with you about the situation.
For young people in our schools, talk with your teachers and school staff. We have Community Safety Officers in elementary and high schools. Don’t be shy, talk with them. They are there to help.
There are a number of agencies and groups that can help people familiarize themselves with their new surroundings. To learn more please visit the agencies listed below.
We recommend everyone in Sault Ste. Marie and Prince Township to take a proactive approach to keeping their home and property safe. If you utilize some simple Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) techniques you can greatly reduce the risk of becoming a victim of property theft or a break in.
- Maintain clear line of sight from inside your home. Keep obstructions such as trees, shrubs and plants trimmed or clear of areas where you can see your property clearly.
- Install an alarm system and video surveillance.
- Install quality locks on your home, garage and shed and keep them locked at all times.
- Store property out of sight to eliminate the temptation of theft. For example, when you are not using your bicycle, keep it locked in your garage, shed or somewhere people can’t easily access it.
- Use fences or other markers to clearly define your property.
- When away, have a family member, friend or neighbour collect your mail, packages and maintain the property (shovel snow, cut the grass etc.) to give the appearance someone is home.
- Keep curtains, drapes or window coverings slightly open; that will give the appearance that your home is occupied.
For more information please visit the Government of Canada’s website on home security.
The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service receives complaints of fraud and identity theft on a regular basis. It is important that you educate yourself on reoccurring scams, and discuss them with people in your life that may be vulnerable of becoming a victim. The elderly are often targeted by scammers because of their inexperience with technology and the fact many scams look like they are coming from a legitimate source.
Here are a few ways you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud.
- Never release any personal information over the phone to someone you don’t know, including banking and social insurance information.
- Remember, legitimate organizations have nothing to hide. You have the right to request additional information, a call back number and references and time to think about the offer.
- If it sounds too good to be true it likely is.
- If you have any doubt about the legitimacy of the call, email or communication, hang up or do not respond. It’s not rude, it’s smart.
- Protect sensitive information by storing it securely or shredding paperwork.
- Use strong passwords for any online activity and change them regularly.
A partnership with Sault Area Hospital has our community at the forefront of supports for people suffering from mental health issues.
Our Mobile Crisis Rapid Response Team (MCRRT) utilizes this partnership to provide immediate support for someone experiencing a mental health and/or emotional disturbance in our community. A uniformed officer and Crisis Staff member (Registered Nurse or CRISIS Social Worker) respond to active incidents and are able to make an assessment to determine the best course of action to help the person in crisis.
In partnership with a number of other community agencies, we are attempting to decrease the frequency of further crisis and prevent further incidents. This model provides clients with the necessary resources, knowledge and skills.
If you have concerns about the mental health of a family member, friend or loved one, Crisis Services is available through Sault Area Hospital (SAH). SAH services are free and confidential. You can contact Crisis Services at 705-759-3398 and a skilled Crisis Worker can help you and them through challenges they are facing.
If you believe there is an imminent risk to someone's safety, you can call 9-1-1 or 705-949-6300 and Sault Police personnel can respond.
To learn more please visit one of our many community partners that specialize in supporting individuals and youth with mental health concerns.
The internet is an integral part of daily life. With so many of us using online resources, it is important to use best practices in order to keep ourselves, loved ones and personal information safe.
In order to keep your home network protected, please follow these tips;
- Keep your browser updated
- Make sure all of your WIFI networks are password protected
- Consider installing trusted protection software, and keep it updated
Social Media platforms are an easy and fun way of sharing photos, videos and learning staying up to date on current events. However, social media is often associated with deceitful activity. Children and youth are especially vulnerable to the risks of social media such as cyberbullying, online luring, self/peer exploitation and non-consensual distribution of intimate images.
To help the people in your life stay safe online, please consider following some of these tips;
- Parents and guardians, be aware of your children’s online activity and interests and have open dialogue with them about the risks of social media and the internet
- Only allow approved friends to see your posts by changing your settings
- Don’t post your full name, address, phone number of any other personal or financial information
- Remember, anything you post online could be seen and saved by others – don’t post if you don’t want others to see it
- Everything you post online can be captured and altered by other people
- Never share passwords with others, and never let someone takeover your accounts
To learn more tips or access resources to help keep your children, family, home and yourself safe from online risks, our partners, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, have a wide range of material for you to learn from.
Vehicles are valuable assets and you should make every effort to maintain the security of your vehicle and property inside of it. There are simple steps you can follow to greatly increase the security of your vehicle.
Please follow these tips to enhance the security of your vehicle and property inside your vehicle;
- Keep your doors locked
- Do not leave valuables of any kind in plain view. If possible remove them from the vehicle or lock them in an out of sight area like a trunk.
- Park your vehicle in well-lit area
- Consider using some form of security system for your vehicle
For more information please visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
Detective Constable Mike Rogers provides a couple simple tips on how to best install security cameras to protect your property. By following these tips, you are more likely to capture a quality image of any suspect involved in potential property crime incidents.
Please note: This video DOES NOT feature a real crime in progress. This is a reenactment.
The regulation of vehicles for hire is covered under by-law 2011-161. This by-law lays out the parameters to license and govern vehicles used for hire to transport passengers, including brokers, owners, and drivers of taxi cabs, limousines, wheel chair accessible vehicles, hotel shuttles and now as per By-law 2019-194, personal transportation providers. The by-law outlines the duties and responsibilities of owners and drivers. The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service (Sergeant, Traffic Services) administers this by-law and new applications for these businesses should be directed to the Sault Ste. Marie Police Services Board.
Record checks are also conducted by the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service for anyone in this type of business and may be completed online. Questions about insurance and the by-law itself should be directed to the Legal Department of the City of Sault Ste. Marie.
All licensing fees are paid directly to the City of Sault Ste. Marie – Licensing Office. For more information on by-law 2011-161 please visit the City’s website.
A vulnerable person is someone who due to a medical, mental health or physical condition may exhibit patterns of behaviour that may pose a danger to themselves or to others. This could include an inclination to wander, the inability to communicate, fascinations or attractions, water, construction sites, etc., and social responses, fear of strangers, aggression.
Officers are trained to recognize signs of disorientation of individuals, but there are ways you can help. There are programs available that may increase the likelihood of a vulnerable person being returned home safely.
If an individual is found alone and they are part of the Sault Police Wandering and/or Vulnerable Person Registry, the Innovation Centre's Vulnerable Persons Registry, Sault Search and Rescue’s Project Life Saver or Medic Alert we will be able to easily identify them and get in touch with their caretaker.
To learn more about these programs and others please visit some of our partners.
The 9-1-1 telephone system has an Automatic Location Identification System and an Automatic Number Identification System which lets the call taker know the address and telephone number of the caller. If a caller is unable to communicate or respond, the Police will be dispatched to the location immediately. Be prepared to answer several questions:
Which service do you require? Police, Fire or Ambulance Service? You will then be transferred to the agency you’ve requested. If your incident requires more than one emergency service, advise the call-taker.
What is your address? You need to provide the address of the incident, including the municipality.
When to Call 9-1-1
- You or someone else is seriously injured or sick
- You witness an emergency such as an assault, a motor vehicle collision where someone is injured or if someone may be in danger (i.e. you hear screaming or gunshots)
- You see a crime in progress
- You see or know of any serious crime that has just occurred
- 9-1-1 emergencies cannot be reported through social media or e-mail. These accounts are not monitored 24/7.
9-1-1 Response Time
If your call is deemed an emergency, police will arrive promptly.
If we determine your call is urgent, but not an emergency, the time it will take for our officers to arrive can vary depending on how many other urgent calls are waiting, the time of day and the availability and location of officers.
Once you have spoken to a dispatcher, do not call back to 9-1-1 to ask for an estimated time of arrival (ETA). Our dispatchers cannot provide you with an ETA.
What you Should Know When Dialing 9-1-1
- Calling from home, you can dial 9-1-1 direct.
- Calling from a business or other location, you may need to dial an outside line before dialling 9-1-1.
- Calling from a pay phone, dial 9-1-1. This is a free call.
- Calling from a cellular phone is free. Be prepared to give the exact location of the emergency.
- A person with hearing loss can call police using T.T.Y access by calling 9-1-1 and pressing the space bar announcer key repeatedly until a response is received.
On January 10, 2021 at 3:57 p.m. police were called by a hiker who stated he and two others had become lost while hiking in the Connor Road area.
While talking with the stranded hikers, dispatchers were able to get them to download the what3words app. Once they did police and members of Sault Search and Rescue were able to pinpoint their location. With the help of the app the hikers were located and rescued safely.
The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service recently partnered with what3words to give the Service another tool to locate people who may have become lost or stranded. The app provides three unique words for every 3m square in the world – allowing anyone to describe their precise location easily.
“Anything we can deploy to locate someone in distress is a positive,” says Chief Hugh Stevenson “we are happy to be the latest Police Service to partner with what3words, and I’m proud of our dispatchers as they reacted swiftly to coordinate the use of the app to locate people in need of support.”
“Our app is free for individual users to download and use,” Says what3words representative Gregoire de Chavanas, “In emergency situations, like when hikers become stranded, we believe our technology can save lives. It is fantastic to see services like the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service embrace the use of what3words and we encourage everyone to download the free app to be prepared to give their 3 words in an emergency if needed”
The app works best when the user has downloaded the app onto their mobile device as it works offline without data connection and therefore there will be no limitations to being able to discover 3 words. For those who do not have the app in advance, emergency dispatchers can send a link for the app to phone’s via text message.
For more information about the technology please visit www.what3words.com/about-us/
For media inquiries please contact the Manager of Corporate Communications, Planning and Research Lincoln Louttit at 705-949-6300 ext. 259.