Some people create crime while others like to stop it.
Vanderhoof’s Crime Watch Patrol has been around for more than 20 years helping to report mischief. The District of Vanderhoof once again approved their grant request for $2,500 at the Jan. 26 council meeting which will help with gas, time cards and the annual luncheon for RCMP to recognize long-term members, Beverley McInnis said, president of Vanderhoof Crime Watch.
“I do it so I can give back to the community. For some, they may have had crime happen around them and instead of sitting back they want to be proactive and make the community safer,” Ms. McInnis said.
The program is 100 per cent run by volunteers who receive basic training from an RCMP officer who attends monthly meetings. The officer provides updates on areas of focus and trains participants on keeping records and proper public conduct. In groups of two, volunteers take turns at least once a month patrolling inner-city streets, recording and reporting crime – one driver and one observer at a time.
“The patrol is as long as it needs to be and can be in the day or night,” Beverley McInnis said, president of Vanderhoof Crime Watch. “Sometimes we go out it’s super quiet and we check in with RCMP and go home after two hours. Sometimes we stay out as late as four-or-five hours.”
Volunteers must be 19 years or older with a clean criminal record check. A valid drivers licence is not needed but is preferred.
The reason Crime Watch only patrols within city limits is because rural areas are dark and highways are high risk for accidents.
“If we can’t see from our cars we can’t do anything,” Ms. McInnis said. “But the main reason we don’t go outside town limits is we don’t have patrol that can go that far out and rural areas tend to have their own patrol anyway.”
There are currently 19 members in the Vanderhoof Crime Watch and the group is working on new recruitment in partnership with the RCMP. If someone wants to become a volunteer they can reach out to the Vanderhoof RCMP at 250-567-2222.