Concern for public safety and security in Powell River began over 20 years ago when residents in the Cranberry area started a "concentrated observance" of activities in their neighbourhood. It soon evolved into the structured Citizens on Patrol Society (COPS) program [“RCMP welcomes community assistance,” October 5]. On many occasions observant patrollers were of help to the police.
Community policing, of which Citizens on Patrol in Powell River is a part of, has several other programs designed to aid in the safety of our neighbourhoods that volunteers from the public can become involved in: Speed Reader Board, Lock-out Crime, and Block Watch. Seatbelt checks for ICBC, special Halloween night patrols and helping search for missing people were also areas where enthusiastic patrollers could offer assistance.
By being part of BC Crime Prevention Association, our local Citizens on Patrol members have access to province-wide information on statistics, program information and training opportunities.
For several years, local patrollers attended a yearly conference in Nanaimo with excellent speakers presenting valuable topics with community policing. Our Citizens on Patrol members were able to hear about and share information with patrollers from other communities. It was always a huge moral booster knowing our small, isolated community was a part of the bigger picture of crime prevention.
With the national decline of 40 per cent in police staffing across Canada and the incidents of crime in our community on the rise, the RCMP is encouraging residents to volunteer a few hours of their time to support some of the programs available through community policing.
Programs can be adapted to fit the resources of the volunteers. For example, you can decide how often you want to patrol the streets and when you want to do it. Although most of the street patrolling in the past took place at night, it's certainly possible to do day patrolling as well. By being "eyes and ears" for our local police, you have contact with them at all times.
Our membership in Citizens on Patrol has declined over the past few years. Recruiting more volunteers is essential to maintaining an effective influence in our community. Consider offering a few hours of your time each month to help keep our community safe.
Applicants will be interviewed and a criminal record check will be done. There is no financial cost to the patrollers.
For more information, call 604.485.2506, 604.485.7594 or 604.485.5878.
Citizens on Patrol in Powell River