In January of 2013, Crime Prevention Ottawa released a report entitled “Cuckooing”: Unit Takeovers of Vulnerable Individuals. This report revealed that very little research has been conducted on the subject of home takeovers and most has come from homelessness groups from the United Kingdom. Furthermore, while anecdotal evidence affirms home takeovers occur in Ottawa the extent and nature of the problem is unclear. Utilizing both survey and interview research of Ottawa-based frontline workers, the purpose of this project is to provide an overview of the issue in Ottawa including prevention and intervention measures.
A “home takeover” is defined as a situation in which a legitimate tenant or home owner finds themselves unsafe, physically, financially or psychologically, because of the presence of people in their home that they may or may not be able to remove. These situations can range in severity from theft to serious assault; involve a range of relationships from a family relationship to drug dealing; take advantage of the legitimate tenant's vulnerabilities (IE. addiction, isolation, and capacity limitations associated with developmental delay or poor health); and always render the legitimate tenant or homeowner at risk of losing their home and uncomfortable in their own home.