City hall is revamping its security infrastructure after a recent string of break-ins at city properties.
The most recent break-in targeted the City Works Yard between 2nd Street and Industrial Dr., where crews discovered the theft of a disused electrical transformer earlier this week, according to unities manager Justin Dinsdale. The transformer was hauled through a small hole cut into the yard’s chain-link fence and then stripped of its copper wiring.
“Whoever’s doing it, it looks more sophisticated than the criminal activity we see in standard vandalism,” Mayor Brian Taylor said Thursday, April 15.
“We’ll be keeping a closer eye on high-value assets through a combination of surveillance equipment and security checks by city crews,” he added. The city has spent around $50,000 in security cameras and related software applications this year, around $20,000 of which was carried over from last year’s budget, according to city staff.
Staff said the city is meanwhile “working to implement RCMP’s recommendations about how to store our high-value equipment.”
A North Ruckle home purchased through the city’s flood mitigation program was also broken into over the weekend, Dinsdale added. Nothing appears to have been taken from the home, he said.
The city currently owns around 65 family homes under the auspices of the Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund (DMAF), according to Graham Watt, manager of strategic initiatives and flood recovery. The city meanwhile owns between 20 and 30 properties purchased after the 2018 freshet which devastated the city and surrounding areas, he said.
Grand Forks RCMP’s Sgt. Darryl Peppler said Mounties are investigating the break-in at the works yard. Abandoned Ruckle homes are “targets of opportunity” for people experiencing homelessness, he said, noting that neighbourhood break-ins accounted for the bulk of reported property crimes over the past year.