By Justin Seward
Alberta RCMP and the Alberta Rural Crime Watch Association signed a partnership agreement on Feb. 15.
RCMP Deputy Commissioner Todd Shean and Trevor Tychkowsky, president of the Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association, signed a memorandum of understanding, outlining the roles of each organizations in keeping rural communities safe throughout the province.
“The efforts of Rural Crime Watch volunteers to promote crime prevention in their communities and encourage the reporting of suspicious activities helps Alberta RCMP gather relevant and actionable intelligence – a key component of our intelligence-led crime reduction strategy,” said Shean. “Their commitment to educating their neighbours on how to secure their property and how not to be aware of potential threats greatly contribute to making their communities safer and more resilient.”
Tychkowsky weighed in saying, “We understand that in order for the RCMP to police our communities effectively, we need to take an active role in educating our neighbours and watching each other’s backs.”
Redcliff RCMP S-Sgt. Sean Maxwell said he is pleased with the announcement because of the Mounties’ good working relationship with South East Alberta Rural Crime Watch Association.
“It maybe lays out some of the specifics in terms of what rural crime watch might do,” said Maxwell.
“They’re not active investigators, but what they are is ‘eyes and ears’ to assist the RCMP in investigations. It’s a two-way street in a lot of ways and the goal is to reduce crime and solve crime.”
He added the partnership will be more affective provincially because locally the RCMP is already engaged with a rural crime watch association.
“It will streamline communication back and forth and lend some legitimacy to the idea of a rural crime watch in every area,” said Maxwell.
“If a community sees that other communities have it supported provincially by the RCMP province-wide, I think that will encourage people to get involved.”
South East Alberta Rural Crime Watch Association secretary and treasurer Shannon Pakula said this partnership will allow a formal outline of the role of rural crime watch groups play in preventing crimes in rural Alberta.
“This will help people know what they are becoming involved in when they join a rural crime watch and what they will be gaining from the effort,” she said.
“It is always a good idea to have clearly defined roles showing what we can and can’t do. That way there are no misinterpretations. We are not trained to patrol, but we can gather and share information with the RCMP. We have always had a good working relationship with our Redcliff RCMP detachment. I’m confident that this will continue for years to come.”