On December 6, 2018, RCMP Inspector Ted De Jager briefly attended the first 'official' Board meeting of the new term. A number of Directors shared very similar concerns (lack of confidence in RCMP responding to calls, wanting more of an RCMP presence, increases in crime throughout the region). Inspector De Jager received our input and discussed the recently expanded prolific offender program and the CAST initiative. He also informed the Board that of as of Spring 2019, all existing vacancies within the detachment will be staffed including the recently hired Community Policing Coordinator.
The Community Policing Coordinator started at the end of November and once she is settled into her new position, establishing Community Watch Programs will be one of her assigned priorities.
I also received an initial report from the pilot program which had SOS Security patrolling Greater West Bench each night from Sept. 25 - Oct. 31, 2018. The marked security vehicles did not encounter 'true crime activity’. However, the report indicates an impact as there were a number of suspicious persons and/or vehicles that elected to leave the area after seeing the marked security vehicle on patrol. Some of the report is briefed below.
I will arrange a one-to-one meeting with Insp. De Jager to discuss Area "F" specific issues
and how our communities can be better serviced by the RCMP. I will also reach out to the new Community Policing Coordinator and discuss the logistics, timeline and what we can expect in terms of support from the RCMP for a Community Watch Program. I've asked staff to work with SOS Security to develop a few different security programs for the residents of Area "F" (Greater West Bench) to consider.
There was discussion at the Board with Insp. De Jager around the value of 'eyes and ears' via a Community Watch Program vs a patrolling security program. Neighbours watching out for neighbours is a definite benefit. With direction from the RCMP on how to best organize community efforts along with some signage letting others know that they will be reported if their activities are out of the norm would be a positive. For the private security, there is some debate around the impact of a patrolling security. Do perpetrators simply scatter/hide once they see the marked vehicle only to return after the vehicle has moved on? Or, is the presence of a security company enough of a deterrent that our neighbourhoods will see a decrease in crime long-term?
Once I have the information on what long-term private security would look like (costs) and have met with Insp. De Jager and the new Community Policing Coordinator, I will provide an community update.
Thank you for reading and if you have any questions or comments, please share them here, call me at 250-488-0246 or email@example.com.
Pilot Project: SOS Security
Pilot Project Dates: September 25, 2018 - October 31, 2018 (37 days)
Project Areas: Sage Mesa, West Bench, Husula Highlands, Red Wing on West side of Hwy 97.
Project Cost: $30/hour plus $.49/km. Three shifts per night.
The area was patrolled from dusk to dawn on a daily basis in fully-marked, high-visibility SOS Security vehicles. This is the same company that is already designated Bylaw Enforcement Officers for the RCMP. Each drive of the pilot area took about 1 hour, 35 kms.
A few examples of reported behaviour:
Oct. 2 0124hrs: Guard observed a white pickup truck with a half canopy, possibly a Dodge – unable to obtain licence plate – cruising slowing along West Bench Drive. The vehicle then sped off when security approached. This happened twice.
Oct. 5 2310hrs: One gold Mercedes, BCL ### ### at Mariposa Park. Left when security arrived.
Oct. 6 0127hrs: Red 4-door sedan, BCL ### ###, with 2 males inside parked at Johnathan Drive. Drove away as security was recording their licence plate number.
Oct. 14 2346hrs: the guard noted that the RCMP was in the area. Later in that same shift he noted a male and female leaving the Sage Mesa area in a black car with no front licence plate.
Oct. 18 0145hrs: the guard was passed by a black car travelling at a high rate of speed on West Bench Drive. The guard followed in the same general direction, (at a reasonable speed). He saw the vehicle again near the highway, and when he approached the car took off back toward Penticton.
Oct. 19 2359hrs: the guard noticed a male in dark clothes walking a bicycle down the West Bench Drive, near the school. Later that same shift guard noted a 4 door SUV, BCL ### ### parked near the gravel pit at the base of Forsyth Drive, and 4 other vehicles in the general area that all left the area when he arrived.