Rural property crime is top priority in Peace River area

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Rural property crime continues to be a priority of Peace Regional RCMP which was active again in 2020.

“Overall crime in 2020 from 2019 remains comparable in most categories,” Sgt. Dave Browne says.

Police have handled a variety of calls related to restrictions and health orders in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officers have responded to reports of people not complying with the restrictions on public gatherings, failing to comply with masking requirements in public places and failing to comply with isolation requirements, among others.

“Public safety is the top priority of the detachment and in incidents of non-compliance, our members have been called upon to provide education in order to seek the voluntary compliance of those individuals in order to prevent transmission of the virus,” Browne says.

Crime in rural areas also keeps officers busy.

“Many of the calls for service that the detachment has responded to involve vacant homes, businesses and work sites being targeted,” Browne says.

“With COVID-19 pandemic precautions seeing increased numbers of employees working from home and with businesses operating reduced hours or being closed to the public, the detachment has implemented a Business Check program.”

Officers conduct regular checks of businesses and properties outside of operational hours or while the staff are away.

Business check cards are left for owners, so they’re aware their business has been checked on.

“In instances where properties are discovered to be insecure, our members will attempt to secure it, and will make every effort to reach the property representative, working to prevent victimization,” Browne says.

Police continue to work closely with the Northern Sunrise Rural Crime Watch and local Citizens on Patrol in an effort to urge people to report suspicious activities and sometimes seemingly insignificant crimes such as break-ins to sheds or outbuildings that might otherwise go unreported.

“Accurate reporting of all potential crimes allows us to better understand where crime is taking place in order to be intelligence-driven in our response,” Browne says.

“We’re also continuing to work with our regional partners through our community advisory committee in order to implement crime prevention strategies.

Last year, police worked on a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design survey of Nampa in an effort to address potentially problematic areas from an environmental perspective in order to discourage crime, leading to the recent implementation of several of the recommendations.

Drug trafficking continues to be a challenge faced in communities throughout the province and a correlation between this activity and regional property crime can often be seen, Browne says.

“Peace Regional detachment continues to undertake work and investigations in order to address illicit drug trafficking in our communities,” Browne says.

He adds local police collaborate with regional partners in an effort to support those suffering addictions and promote their healthy recovery, while reducing the demand for illicit drugs.

Peace police will soon organize consultations with stakeholders to set annual priorities.

“In the coming months, our detachment will be seeking public input in establishing this year’s priorities,” says Browne.

“Where we find that priorities have shifted, we work to address emerging concerns to the best of our ability.”

Anyone looking to become more involved with the detachment is encouraged to consider becoming involved in the regional Crime Watch group or the police community advisory committee.

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