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December 7, 2021 December 7, 2021

SEABRCWA still getting crime awareness out during pandemic tim

Posted on November 16, 2021 by 40 Mile Commentator

By Justin Seward

Commentator/Courier

The world health crisis has not stopped South East Alberta Rural Crime Watch Association from working on distributing awareness to both Cypress and Forty Mile counties.

“We are still working on at growing awareness of the RCW group in both Counties— it is a continuous effort to try to reach all the rural residents,” said Shannon Pakula, SEABRCWA secretary-treasurer.

“By working with local RCMP, RCW members have made a positive impact in many areas that saw higher crime rates.”

SEABRCWA’s focus is on information and awareness for people to have when they see a crime.

“If people know the current issues and understand what they can do to prevent property crime, they are better able to recognize suspicious activity or persons and report those kinds of things to RCMP,” said Pakula.

“Our members do not do patrols—they simply report any suspicious activity to the RCMP when they see it.”

It was with participation from the counties that Crime Watch was able to install 50 large highway signs to make the public aware that both municipalities are Rural Crime Watch areas and are located both on primary and secondary highways entering the counties.

“In addition to the Rural Crime Watch Member and No Trespassing signs available to members, these signs help increase awareness of the Rural Crime Watch program,” said Pakula.

“By advertising that there is a network of people watching for suspicious activity we are discouraging would be criminals from targeting these areas, they will move on to places easier to commit crimes without being caught.”

SEABRCWA’s has between 100-150 members per year, but that number has decreased over the last two years due to not being able to hold public meetings.

“Since most of our membership sign ups happen during our community engagement events and public awareness meetings that we would normally hold, we have not been able to grow the membership as usual,” she said.

There are many benefits and rewards of becoming a SEABRCWA member, as most notably, an individual can play a role in their properties and communities becoming safer.

“By taking the knowledge of what to look for and when to report suspicious activity, our members are the eyes and ears of the RCMP,” said Pakula.

The SE AB Rural Crime Watch Association Facebook page and seabrcw.ca are being used to share information on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles, current crimes stats from the RCMP crime map, alerts about current frauds, information from RCMP fan outs and general crime prevention tips.

“We are constantly working to increase awareness about crime prevention and have been looking into ways to increase our online presence,” said Pakula.

“This way we can get the information on current trends in our rural areas to our members in a way that is accessible 24/7. Our members are part of a Fan-Out system, which is used when we receive information from RCMP. There have recently been some new program options come out that we will be looking into that should make delivery of these messages become cost effective to our group and provide our members more choices on how they receive messages.”

SEABRCWA can also be emailed at seabrcw@outlook.com for more information.

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