Rural crime watches the focus of LeRoy public meeting

A public town hall meeting hosted by the Humboldt-Lanigan RCMP in LeRoy encouraged attendees to start a rural crime watch.

S/Sgt. Adare Guest, the commanding officer of the area’s police forces, said there’s been a resurgence of interest for rural crime watch and their urban-based counterparts, citizens on patrol.

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“Part of the purpose tonight was to bring some information to the community about the programs and to offer some support to any of the communities out this way that are interested a program of their own,” he said after the Oct. 29 meeting.

Cpl. George Riffel from Yorkton was on hand at the meeting to discuss how a rural crime watch can be formed.

“There’s a lot of interest in it,” he said. “The discussions are really about the groups: how to get them started up; how to get them active; the ones that were going years ago, rejuvenating some of those.”

Riffel said he’s noticed there’s more action in getting them started in the western part of the province, where rural crime is a larger problem.

The corporal said the key is to have somebody step up that’s willing to take a leadership role, establish an organizing committee and get the word out there’s a group started. When that’s done, the RCMP will be contacted and a liaison will be assigned. Those interested in being part of the watch will have to get a criminal record check.

Guest said the Humboldt-Lanigan RCMP has had a lot of enquiries.

“Sometimes the programs are a little slower to get off the ground is because they are community led, is to find community members that are willing to take on that leadership role to start putting pieces together to start the program and find enough volunteers to actually run the program.”

The staff sergeant said there’s no rural crime watches active right now, but there is some work being done to set a few up. One in the RM of Humboldt is close to fruition.

Guest also talked about the proactive measures the Humboldt-Lanigan RCMP are taking to prevent crime. They include: Being visible, checking up on those given conditions by judges and making sure they are following them, traffic checks – which actually catches criminals with stolen vehicles and warrants for their arrests, stopping impaired drivers – the criminal act that’s most likely to kill somebody, and going into schools.

In the future, the RCMP are planning to hold more town hall meetings in rural areas to ensure that residents there are able to meet with the police and ask questions.

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