Rural residents around Prince Albert are working together to raise awareness and protect each other from crime.
More crime watch groups are starting up in areas around the city and more residents are joining together to protect their property. April Brown started a Facebook group in late February to highlight issues around rural crime near Prince Albert with other area residents. The group continues to meet to share information and had about 30 people attend their most recent meeting Monday night.
Brown lives in the Rural Municipality of Prince Albert and told paNOW the number of thefts, break-ins and vandalism around her area grew in recent years. She’s hoping to encourage more people to get to know their neighbours and watch out for suspicious activity in their areas.
“I don’t know all my neighbours and if I saw something suspicious in my yard, I don’t have a number to call and ask them … I think we need to look after one another more,” Brown said.
Marvis Wilm has lived in the RM of Prince Albert for 35 years. A year ago, Wilm’s husband and son confronted a man who was lurking around the yard, and then a few weeks ago, a neighbour phoned in the early morning to let them know someone was again in their yard.
Wilm said the road next to her home is a busy one, and she often sees speeders and beer cans littering the road. She said she’s grateful to have helpful neighbours.
“As a result of this, we have everything locked up like we’ve never had it locked up before,” Wilm said.
Paul Rybka, reeve of the RM of Prince Albert, said rural crime is one of the biggest issues he hears about from ratepayers. He said the RM supports crime watch initiatives and would like to see a rural watch program in every division within the RM.
“We let them use council chambers for their meetings, we try to access cheaper signage for them, we help in whatever way we can,” Rybka said.
Brown said RCMP and other law enforcement agencies have attended the group’s meetings and have been helpful in answering questions from residents.
Brown’s group, Rural Prince Albert Crime Watch, is planning to join with the group in the Lakeland area around Christopher Lake to share resources and keep residents informed.
“The people committing crimes, I don’t think, just stay in one area, they’re travelling all around,” Brown added. “So, it’s just in everybody’s best interests if we’re all in prevention together.”
On Twitter: @CharleneTebbutt
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