RCMP Staff Sgt. Mark Groves, the former commanding officer in Rimbey, who is now in Rocky Mountain House is pleased to see the memorandum of understanding go into effect.
“Members of Rural Crime Watch know their friends and neighbours better than anyone and care deeply about their safety and security. By helping us to see a little farther, hear a little more and encouraging your neighbours to do the same, they play a major role in support of the RCMP’s Crime Reduction strategy. The success of this strategy is dependent on the amount and quality of intelligence we receive. With the right intelligence, received at the right time, we can identify repeat offenders and crime hotspots that will help us conduct targeted initiatives aimed at reducing the overall impact of crime. Rimbey and District Rural Crime Watch Association members have provided valuable information and intelligence over and over again resulting in successful arrests and charges being laid and the recovery of stolen property.” This MOU will allow us to continue to work together in a partnership to help make the community safer.”
Grooves said the memorandum adds structure and specifies guidelines between the two entities. He noted crime watch members who keep an eye on their neighbours property and notify the RCMP are most helpful in reducing crime.
RCMP detachments also offer specific training for crime watch organizations and the RCMP can share information about stolen vehicles and other property with crime watch members.
Grooves said the new memorandum of understanding is effective until April, 2022.
The agreement was signed Feb. 15 by RCMP Deputy Commissioner Todd Shean, commanding officer of the Alberta RCMP and Trevor Tychowsky, president of the Alberta provincial Rural Crime Watch Association at K Division headquarters in Edmonton. The memorandum defines the roles for the two organizations.
Individuals who wish to be a part of a rural crime watch association may contact an RCMP detachment.
Rural Crime Watch is a community-led program supported by the RCMP and the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General aimed at reducing crime in rural communities by providing extra “eyes and ears” for the RCMP and promoting Crime Prevention through awareness and education campaigns.
“The efforts of Rural Crime Watch volunteers to promote crime prevention in their communities and encourage the reporting of suspicious activities helps Alberta RCMP gather relevant and actionable intelligence – a key component of our intelligence-led Crime Reduction Strategy” said Deputy Commissioner Todd Shean. “Their commitment to educating their neighbours on how to secure their property and how to be aware of potential threats greatly contribute to making their communities safer and more resilient.”
“We understand that in order for the RCMP to police our communities effectively, we need to take an active role in educating our neighbours and watching each other’s backs” said Trevor Tychkowsky, President of the Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association.
Ponoka County Reeve Paul McLauchlin, who spoke at a Citizens on Patrol meeting, Wednesday at the Peter Lougheed Community Centre said a collaborative approach to rural crime is needed and such an agreement will help keep communities safe.
“Rural crime is increasing and being the eyes and ears for the RCMP is more important than ever,” he said.
McLauchlin is in the process of helping to form West County Citizens on Patrol.