Target Hardening with Grandview Heights Block Watch groups

Several Block Watch programs from the Grandview Heights area, including Grandview Acres 5-380, Grandview Estates 5-202, Country Woods 5-085, and 31 Avenue BW 5-316, organized a second “Target Hardening” seminar at the Kensington Prairie Community Centre on October 7, 2015. This event was made possible by grants from the Country Woods Residents Association and the Block Watch Society of BC. Mandarin language interpretation was funded by Burglar Stop


The first seminar was chronicled here.

Constable Amber Briggs and Corporal Stephen Jardine from the Surrey RCMP Economic Crime Unit gave an excellent presentation on fraud and how not to be victimized.


Constable Amber Briggs (standing) Frank Fourchalk, Dan Courchene, Rick Reimer and Ashley Sousa

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Corporal Stephen Jardine presenting







The highlights are on this RCMP Scams and Fraud website, which is a comprehensive source of information about the wide variety of ways crooks scam innocent victims.  They covered Identity Theft and fraud, payment card fraud, E-mail fraud/phishing, mass marketing and Internet-related fraud. They also touched on investment fraud issues, and advised investors to consult the Invest Right page on the BC Securities Commission website. Also check out

Some tips from Constable Briggs:

-Always protect your PIN for your debit and credit cards, if you give it out, you violate your contract with the bank/credit card company and are liable for any outstanding purchases
-be aware of your surroundings when entering your PIN into the point of sale terminal or an ATM and shield the keypad with your hand and or body to prevent shoulder surfing
-never give out your personal or banking/credit card information over the phone, unless it is a company that you have verified
-be wary if someone is promising risk free high return on investments, remember nothing in life is free, there is a cost associated to everything!
-be careful what you post on social networking sites, whether it be your opinion, photos or videos, once you put something on the internet, it is extremely difficult to remove it, you can’t un-ring the bell


Coffee and treat table … along with the Mandarin translation portion of the audience

Ashley Sousa, the South Surrey Crime Prevention Programs Coordinator, gave a presentation on a variety of issues currently impacting South Surrey residents. She mentioned that a Block Watch member recently observed a suspicious individual in a vehicle in the area of 28A Avenue and 161 Street hanging around the mailbox and called the RCMP non-emergency number. The neighbour managed to get the licence plate of the vehicle and advised the call-taker who discovered that it was a stolen vehicle. Police were dispatched. They located the suspect and he was promptly arrested. This is a perfect example as to why reporting suspicious persons/vehicles to the police can be extremely beneficial.

After 30 years in the security business and thousands of installations, Rick Reimer  of Burglar Stop  believes that customers require a security system design that is based on their needs, budget, lifestyle and family situation, and that no two systems are the same. To be effective, a system must be user-friendly, reliable and free of false alarms. Ideally it will detect and deter criminals before they even enter your house, and thanks to the latest generation of glass break detectors it’s possible to alert homeowners and the police that you have a serious problem before it turns into a tragedy.

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Security product display courtesy BurglarStop

Reimer recommends a monitored alarm because burglars who are frequently addicts desperate for money to buy drugs often tend to be armed nowadays. Ideally the monitored alarm system being tripped will trigger loud sirens and perhaps lights as well as notifying authorities so that the suspect knows he’s been detected and simultaneously an appropriate police response is immediately forthcoming.




A system that just triggers an audible alarm, usually a siren, depends on neighbours calling the police. Thus a monitored alarm is safer for you, your family and your neighbours who are not equipped or trained to deal with potentially violent B&E suspects.
Reimer points out that some people purchase their home security over the phone from someone they have never met and then the system is usually installed by a contractor they have never met. This is not a good way to protect your home and family. These systems are normally proprietary, meaning only one company can work with them. These systems are usually very basic in their design and function and often not very effective.

Burglar Stop recommends that you have a security expert visit your home, have an in-depth discussion about your requirements, and then have a hybrid system designed where the control box is hidden in a secure location. As your needs and budget evolve, the system can be expanded and modified easily. Homeowners are taught how to use the system in order to eliminate as many false alarms as possible so the system gets used regularly rather than ignored through lack of familiarity with the various functions. When your life, or the life of a family member, depend on your security system functioning flawlessly, it makes sense to have the best possible equipment so that it’s there for you when you need help.

A system is only as good as its weakest link. Here are some of the products  that are available for your protection:
Modern glass break detectors are good replacements for the old PIR Passive Infrared motion detectors many of us have in our older security systems. They are sophisticated sensors that detect the sound of breaking or shattered glass by monitoring nearby noise and vibrations and only trip if two different parameters are detected, thus making them reliable and far less prone to false alarms.

Smoke detectors are important for protecting your home from fire while you are away, and of course those of us with pets know how important this can be. They should be mounted near sleeping areas and not near the kitchen. Also Carbon Monoxide detectors, medical alert devices and flood detectors are available, all of which are co-ordinated by the control box so the appropriate authorities will attend when necessary.

One element that can be incorporated into your system is a panic alarm, which can be situated anywhere or worn around your neck as a pendant.

Perimeter alarms will tell you when a door or window is open. This will help you determine that your residence is secure when locking up at night, and alert you if an intruder gains entry if it’s activated while you are at home.
A remote on your keychain is handy for many reasons. In conjunction with indicator lights mounted outside your garage, they can tell you as you drive in whether or not your residence is secure or insecure, and deactivate your alarm as you enter the house.
Optex 2000 wireless driveway alert: Weatherproof wireless indoor/outdoor Sensor Transmitter mounts easily wherever you need to know of people or cars arriving or leaving. The receiver may be placed anywhere in your home or office to announce the arrival of visitors.

Frank Fourchalk  is a BC Government Licensed Locksmith and Security Consultant who has owned and operated his own security business, White Rock Lock and Key, for 28 years in Surrey. He has made a longstanding commitment to educating the public and emergency services personnel in home and business security through seminars like this as well as his syndicated columns. His website, which has a comprehensive list of security articles, is here.
Fourchalk emphasizes that it’s important to educate people about home security, pointing out that homeowners can start by working with what they have but making it stronger and much more secure, often without spending a lot of money if budget is an issue. Anyone who is handy with tools can do much of the work themselves.

For example, most people are aware that deadbolts are the standard now for door lock, but it’s important to use quality striker plates secured by long screws. As well, in the locked position the bolt must far enough into the strike plate so it actually locks, because otherwise the bolt can be pried open with a knife. This is often a problem found throughout typical new home developments, especially those homes that have out-swinging doors.

Information on using lighting as part of your home security plan, as well as details on the installation of deadbolts and door reinforcers, which are decorative metal plates that wrap around the door. “The u-shaped sleeve fits around the front, side and back of the door and is one of the best security items you can buy. As soon as you drill a hole for the deadbolt, you’ve immediately compromised the strength of the door — the sleeve just reinforces it,” says Fourchalk. If you’re handy you can reinforce your deadbolt striker plate yourself.


More information here and here.  He recommends solid hardwood doors, which he states are stronger than metal-clad doors.

Fourchalk explains the use of “security films” that coat windows and their installation and uses here.

He describes door chains as a “weak link” and “nothing more than an excuse to open your door to a potentially dangerous situation.” Instead, he recommends that you “replace door chains with door viewers with a radius of 180 to 200 degrees to give maximum optics.


Try and purchase a door viewer or peep hole with a cover that falls in front of the inside lenses to restrict intruders from using a reverse lenses to view inside your home from the outside. When you want to view who’s at your door, simply move the cover to the side and look through the door viewer.


If you have a thicker wallet, consider a Video entry system for your home’s front door area. Video entry systems are audio/visual security systems that use sophisticated infrared technology to give you a clear, wide-angle view of the area around your front door, even in near-total darkness. These video systems enable you to see who is at your front door through a four-inch color monitor that turns on automatically when the doorbell rings.


Sliding glass doors are particularly vulnerable, and there are several ways they can be secured.   One very simple method is to buy a wooden dowel that fits snugly in the lower track of the door, thus rendering it difficult to slide it open from outside. You can put a finishing nail at one end to make it easier to remove when you want to open it. If the door can be lifted open from the outside, simply add screws in the track above it to limit how far it can be raised.

Here’s an article on reinforcing security of doors next to glass panels.

Frank recommends the use of the Door Guardian for securing some doors.

Finally, here is a home security checklist from his website.