Barrhaven residents blast 'lukewarm' police response to break-ins

There's mounting frustration over a recent rash of break-ins in Barrhaven and the police response to it, which one resident characterized as "lukewarm"

Dozens of residents turned out to a community meeting Monday evening to discuss the robberies, and many expressed fear that their homes could be next.

Ene Schonberg was asleep when someone threw a rock through her basement patio doors and broke into her home a decade ago.

She's now worried it could happen again.

"When you've had a break-in like that, it affects you for the rest of your life," she said. 

Home ransacked last week

Ravinder Singh wasn't at the meeting but said he's frustrated after his home in the Woodroffe Avenue and Strandherd Drive area of Barrhaven was broken into last Wednesday.

His family had been in the Toronto area for two days, but it was in the two hours between when he came home and quickly left to check on his restaurant business that his home was targeted.

He found his front door unlocked and his back patio doors wide open.

He then heard footsteps upstairs and called 911 from his car.

"It was quite shocking for me," he said. "I was a little bit scared."

Michel Aspirot/ CBC

His home had been ransacked, with drawers pulled out in almost every room and toys and clothes strewn about.

Even the window in his master bedroom had been broken.

Ravinder Singh

He said ​jewelry, an iPad, a laptop and thousands of dollars in cash were taken, along with his wife's passport.

He plans to install security cameras in the hopes it will prevent future break-ins, as well as provide more information to police if others on his street are also targeted.

But he called Ottawa police's response to the break-ins "lukewarm" and without any concrete steps to find those responsible.

"I don't think police or the city is doing much to nab the culprits."

More police officers needed, councillor says

Ottawa police said there have been 48 break-ins in Barrhaven this year, but approximately 20 have occurred in Barrhaven and Stittsville in September and another 21 in October.

At the meeting, police said there has been only one residential break-in since Nov. 5, but CBC News has spoken to two residents, including Singh, who said their homes were both targeted last Wednesday.

Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder said she understands people are concerned.

She wants to see more police officers in the community and plans to address the need when the police budget comes up.

"We have 90,000 people in Barrhaven," she said.

"We're far away [from the city centre], so we're quite isolated."

Ravinder Singh

Insp. Ken Bryden called the community a "target-rich environment."

"It's a very densely populated community where there's a large number of homes in a small radius," he said.

But he said police are still working to catch those responsible and understand the community's frustrations.

"I understand that there are residents in [Barrhaven] and across the city that have lost that sense or that feeling of security at home."