MELFORT — The City of Melfort Is asking residents to take precautions to help slow down crime in the community.
According to city administration, since the onset of COVID-19, the RCMP have noticed an increase in crime including stolen vehicles, vehicle break and enters, as well as vandalism and theft of property.
“We’re not sure it’s related to the Covid pandemic, but certainly everybody’s regular activities are curtailed, and in some cases people’s sources of income have been lost to them, and boredom can play a part in people just finding mischief,” said Brent Lutz, Melfort’s director of development, planning and community relations.
The City of Melfort is in the process of sourcing and installing high visibility and high-resolution cameras for areas of concern to allow for better identification of suspects of thefts and vandalism.
“The city and the RCMP can do what we can, but one of the other components is for the public citizens, themselves, to just recognize sometimes that by providing an opportunity for someone to commit a crime, that it could be avoided if you took some simple steps,” Lutz said.
“We’re hoping the public will recognize, we’re being told many of these small crimes, picking things out of vehicles or whatever is because doors are open, or stealing an ATV from a backyard because they were walking by and the key was in it.”
The city said the first precaution people can take is to not leave any valuables outside or in plain sight within a vehicle. Instead, residents should put the items away or lock them in their trunk.
The second thing is to not leave keys in automobiles or ATV’s, and make sure to lock all vehicle doors. The city said nearly all the recent vehicle thefts within the city were due to keys left in the vehicle and unlocked doors.
The third thing residents should do is lock their house when they are away and keep outbuildings and storage sheds locked.
The fourth precaution residents can take is mark property for identification purposes and write down or take pictures of serial numbers, in case they are stolen.
The fifth precaution the city gave is to be vigilant and report any suspicious or out of the ordinary activity or vehicles in the area.
The sixth, and final precaution from the city is that should a crime be witnessed, or someone finds themselves unfortunate enough to be a victim of crime, they are encouraged to report it to the RCMP as soon as possible.
“Many of us have grown up in a community and never thought about these things,” Lutz said. “We left our doors unlocked, we left keys in our car, we left things setting out in our driveways and on our lawns and we don’t recognize that by doing that we’re contributing to this problem with crime.”
Lutz said that while the city is adding more cameras, they feel that is not a solution.
“People aren’t considering that they’re contributing to increased crime in the community by being careless and doing some of these things that they maybe shouldn’t be.”