I met with Supt. De Jager and Sgt. Baylis yesterday morning. A new initiative put forward by the RCMP is to assign each Rural Area in the RDOS a Liaison Officer and when possible, that Liaison officer is also an Area resident. Officers work in four-day shifts and part of their Liaison Officer responsibility is to drive through his or her Area in a patrol car (visibility), be a point of contact when area-specific issues are arising and help to keep Directors in the loop around ongoing RCMP-related issues. So, please keep reporting issues to the RCMP so we have data to work with. Emergencies are always to 911. Non-emergencies, call 250-492-4300.
With the changing of the seasons, we no doubt will see an increase in crime especially in 'crimes of opportunity' (unlocked doors, personal property left unattended, etc.).
At the Community meeting in January, Supt. De Jager discussed the merit of 'security on patrol' for a community like the Greater West Bench (not a fenced community, large lots, lots of trees, trails, and other places to hide). His point was, if a criminal activity is taking place and a marked security car is coming towards the criminal activity - the persons have plenty of time to scatter, hide and then return to the scene once the vehicle has passed. If you'd like more details on the Security report, please see my December 8 post.
And of course, the cost of private security is something else to consider. We do know from the pilot project that it takes about three to four hours to patrol the area plus .49cents/km. Estimate $130/night. If we were to do that five nights a week (52 weeks a year), the cost would be around $34,000.
At the community meeting, many residents expressed that they were not too interested in taking on another service that had to be paid for (via taxes) and would rather work with existing volunteer opportunities. Supt. De Jager stated that in rural areas, what works best are smaller clusters of neighbours who watch out for one another. Now that the weather is nice, an idea would be to establish a watch with those who live across the street from you, beside you and behind you. Share phone numbers and let one another know when you will be away. Keep an eye out and report anything suspicious to the RCMP.
Ensure your property is well-lit and your items are secured. The nature of the crime we are seeing is primarily opportunity based. Thieves are looking for items that are easy to steal and then easy to trade. The items do not have to be of high value. There is a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) assessment available through Community Policing, if you are interested. See the link below.
Community Policing Coordinators Rick Dellebuur and Sharon Siluch welcome residents from Area F who would like to volunteer for the Citizens on Patrol and Speed Watch. Both programs are volunteer-driven and have excellent training programs.
Here is a bit more information on the Community Policing Programs including CPTED and Crime Stoppers. You are welcome to pop into the office behind the Peach on Okanagan Lake, call 250-490-2372 (which is also the Crime Stoppers contact), email coordinators Rick Dellebuur at Rick.DELLEBUUR@rcmp-grc.gc.ca or Sharon Siluch at Sharon.Siluch@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.
Thanks everyone and questions comments are always welcomed,