Ottawa's Police Chief Vern White said Friday the Russell Williams case is a reminder to residents of the need to report every crime to police, because most of the break-ins committed by Williams were never reported.
Williams pleaded guilty to two murders, two sexual assaults and more than 80 break-ins. He was sentenced Thursday to two terms of life in prison for the first-degree murders of Cpl. Marie-France Comeau and Jessica Lloyd. He has no chance of parole for 25 years.
Of the 80 break-ins he committed, 34 were in his Orléans neighbourhood between May 2008 and October 2009. But only 14 were reported to police, and only three of those reported involved the theft of lingerie.
Ottawa police only learned about the other break-ins when Williams confessed to them.
"If anything, maybe some of the unreporting — where people, you know, `My screen door was broken, and I didn't bother calling police' — maybe it will change, and they'll start reporting these … 'cause some of them knew something happened and didn't bother reporting."
"We continue to say to the public, you know, regardless of whether you think we'll catch someone, report it to the police. It might be the one little piece of the puzzle that puts it all together. This might be one of those cases where the public can actually see that," White said.
Williams and his wife, Mary-Elizabeth Harriman, lived in Orléans for about 14 years before moving to Westboro in late 2009.
They were well known and liked in their Orléans neighbourhood, and regularly socialized with other residents.
"Could society have seen something in this person that would have caused any of us to do something different in relation to him?" Chief White asked.
"Is there something that would have triggered our attention to him as a community, as a family, as co-workers, to give us some idea what this individual is actually capable of doing? I think that's part of the bigger question, and that's what I don't have an answer to," White said.
"I don't know if there was something I would do different from an investigative perspective, because we didn't know about most of the crimes committed," he said.