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Recruiting community watch volunteers

Recruiting community watch volunteers

Looking to help the Coast become a safer place in 2021? If so, the Sechelt Business Watch program is recruiting volunteers.
These individuals monitor commercial and residential areas from their vehicles during evening hours. They report on any suspicious or criminal activity that they observe for RCMP follow up. They also make a note of issues that may have public safety impacts, such as damaged traffic signs or streetlight outages and have these reported to the appropriate authorities.
The program is a joint effort of the District of Sechelt and the Sechelt Downtown Business Association (SDBA). Retired local RCMP Detachment Commander Cam Reid is a coordinator with the initiative. He assembles the reports from the watch patrols for police review. He notes that although the program was developed based on two-hour patrols, shifts can be adjusted to accommodate the time that volunteers have available.
Reid enjoys working with the seven individuals who have stepped forward as regular program volunteers. “Often, the observations we record seem to be of little value, but they could, in fact, be the piece of the puzzle that help the police see more of the picture and then help solve a crime,” said Reid.
Members of this community safety team are required to be at least 19 years of age and must consent to a criminal records check. The District of Sechelt covers the cost of the records checks and extends liability insurance coverage to those registered with the program while performing their assignments. Volunteers who use their vehicles for patrols are compensated with a $25 gas card for every two-hour shift.
Individuals interested in volunteering for Sechelt Business Watch should contact Lucy Clark, Sechelt’s Community Services Coordinator, at lclark@sechelt.ca or inquire through the SDBA by emailing sdba@dccnet.com.
In a related item, Sunshine Coast RCMP Detachment Staff Sergeant Poppy Hallam reports that local Corporal Phil Atoui has teamed up with North Vancouver’s Block Watch to learn about how that group operates. Depending on resource availability, Hallam hopes that her detachment will be able to support Block Watch programming for interested areas on the Coast in the new year.
The Block Watch program was launched in BC in 1986 with the goal of building a crime-free province through community participation. Operating as a non-profit society, Block Watch BC supports groups of individuals in taking a proactive approach to crime prevention and safety by volunteering to look out for their neighbourhoods.
Connie Jordison

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