After two local rural crime watch information meetings in March and attending the South Eastern Alberta Crime Watch Association’s (SEARCWA) on April 10, County of Forty Mile residents can become a member with the existing association.
Dave Matz, who spearheaded the interest in getting a rural crime watch association for the county, said that after discussions with the SEARCWA, it would be advantageous to work with the existing association, while learning more about having its own.
If the county were to get their own association in the future, they would have to apply for a society status in Alberta, which would involves a board and establishing bylaws.
“There’s quite a long wait to get provincial government approval,” said Matz.
“So you’re probably looking at seven or eight months before getting approved for that . Once you have a society, then you have to apply for the crime watch association for a membership.”
He added this is the “quickest and simplest” decision at the current time with the idea of forming their own group still there, while benefiting from working with both Bow Island and Redcliff RCMP.
“People in the Seven Persons area will be getting their information as they are from the Redcliff detachment,” said Matz.
“(And) maybe being a little bit further, they maybe interested in getting information from the Bow Island police. There is benefits to the members of each (county) as well.”
Bow Island RCMP Cst. Matt Kennedy, who is an advocate on the police end for a local rural crime watch association, said with the decision that it will allow for more access to Cypress County and keeping people more aware about current crime trends.
“As far as joining up with Rural Crime Watch in Cypress County, that won’t change our jurisdiction area, but it’ll allow that communication between residents to be better,” said Kennedy.
“For instance if there is crime trends on the Bow Island border, then we can let the Cypress County residents know of those crime trends. We’re joining something that is already set-up and been going for a long time. They know exactly what they’re doing. For us the timing is the best and we can get people knowledgeable and help them to prevent crime. If we were to wait for two years to have it happen, people would get frustrated and we just wouldn’t have anything set-up.”
SEARCWA’s Cypress County members allowed for the County of Forty Mile to be a part of the association, where the make up of group will be residents from both counties.
Bylaws for the association will be amended to allow for more directors within the board. When the amendment occurs, there will be an equal number of directors for the association from the counties.
Forty Mile will be holding a member drive with four upcoming meetings in the county:
– April 19, 7-8:30 p.m. at the Burdett Community Hall
– April 24, 1-4 p.m. at Bow Island’s Provincial Building
– April 25, 2-4 p.m. at the county office in Foremost and in Etzikom (7-8:30 p.m) at the community hall
A membership costs $25 per house hold and includes a Rural Crime Watch sign.