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Rural Crime Watch seeking new members

Posted on November 30, 2023 by Ryan Dahlman

By Anna Smith
Commentator/Courier

The South East Alberta Rural Crime Watch Association (SEABRCW) is seeking fresh sets of eyes to help keep the remote parts of our communities safe.

“The call to action is for people in its three zones – the County of Forty Mile, Cypress County and Newell County, to join as volunteers,” said Shannon Pakula, Secretary-Treasurer of SEABRCW. 

It’s a reality of life that remote areas tend to carry the risk of criminal activity happening and going unnoticed, said Pakula, which has long since given rural landowners reason to keep careful watch over their land and their communities.

And this method works well; statistics show that areas with crime watch programs tend to have lower criminal activity, which includes less dumping of garbage, vandalism, trespassing, break-and-enters, livestock rustling, and theft of equipment and grain.

“Volunteers work together in their rural areas to report suspicious activity immediately to the RCMP or 911,” said Pakula. “Rural Crime Watch promotes crime prevention through awareness, education and encouraging reporting of suspicious activity when observed.”

Members are not asked to do scheduled patrols or direct investigation, but instead merely “effortless stuff like watching for suspicious vehicles and activities while out doing everyday things like checking cows or crops and using a member call list or fanout to report suspicious activity in the neighborhood,” said Pakula.

Those interested are encouraged to reach out to SEABCRW to purchase their lifetime membership, which includes an RCW Member sign for your farmyard, with the opportunity to purchase more as needed. 

“These signs advertise that residents are keeping an eye on and reporting suspicious activity in the area, which drives would-be criminals away from the area,” said Pakula. “The only way we will find success in preventing crime with our rural crime watch is by residents and rural landowners joining together as volunteers.”

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