By Anna Smith
Southeastern Alberta Rural Crime Watch is on the lookout for not only crime, but for people interested in making their communities a safer place to live.
Currently, the Crime Watch boasts about 475 members in 300 households across Cypress County and the County of 40- Mile, but is always looking for new members to help keep both counties safe.
“We’ve found that crime has been reduced in areas where there are rural Crimewatch members. And so we feel that by having more members, we can still reduce that potential rural crime activity more,” said president Garry Lentz. “Membership is open to anyone 18 years or older, living or owning property in the rural areas of Cypress County, or the County of 40-Mile that can pass an RCMP background check.”
Membership requires only a one-time payment of $25, said Lentz.
“Both counties have participated in the installation of large rural Crimewatch signs on highways entering the counties. Individual property signs are also available to our members. These signs help deter rural crime by making potential criminals aware that their presence may be observed and reported to the police,” said Lentz.
The Southeastern Alberta rural crime watch Association has also provided the RCMP with a mobile radar speed sign that can be placed along roadways to make people aware of their speed and the accuracy of their speedometers.
“We are encouraging more people to join this organization,” said Lentz. “Meetings are held three or four times a year and are attended by staff members of the RCMP, which may include the commanding officer or liaison officer, the county Mountie, and often guest speakers from the livestock division or other departments.”
Lentz notes that often, people who are affected by rural crime do end up becoming crimewatch members, but encourages residents to consider preventing this event from happening in the first place by helping reduce crime in their area. There is not, presently, a rise in concern regarding rural crime, this search is instead proactive.
“Our organization is the eyes and ears for the RCMP working with the Redcliff and Bow Island detachments,” said Lentz. “Our focus is on information and awareness on how to proof your property and what to do if you witness a crime.”