Offering extra help to law enforcement

A citizen notices a break-in at a downtown liquor store. A woman is seen handing booze out through the window to her accomplices

Speed watch: Citizens on Patrol help make drivers aware of their speed.

A citizen notices a break-in at a downtown liquor store. A woman is seen handing booze out through the window to her accomplices.

The thieves soon notice the arrival of Citizens on Patrol volunteers and take off.

Police arrest the suspects after following footprints in the snow.

One of the many services Salmon Arm Citizens on Patrol provides is being the extra eyes and ears of the police, explained Sue Kershaw, president of the group, to the city’s planning meeting Dec. 7.

She gave the liquor store example, and a few other scenarios, to explain some of what the volunteers do. Another example was when they observed a truck idling at Walmart. When they came back 20 minutes later it was still running – and they noticed two young children inside. Authorities were notified.

Regarding recent discussions about dogs at the foreshore, Kershaw said Citizens on Patrol might be able to help.

“I think that’s another use for us; I’ve been thinking of approaching the society (SABNES) – how about joining us?… Join us, wear our jackets,” she said, urging the community to use the volunteers where they can.

Kershaw said enhancing the community’s sense of security and well-being is the most important job Citizens on Patrol does.

“Our role is to observe and report,” she says, noting volunteers stay at a safe distance from those carrying out suspicious activities.

Citizens on Patrol also participates in the Stolen Auto Recovery, Lock Out Auto Crime and Speed Watch programs.

“People can call and say, there’s too much speeding in our area. So we can set up a speed watch.”

Last year, with a decrease in property crime, priorities were revamped to focus on “community safety and security – such as drugs. We like our yellow jackets and Stetson hats to remind drug dealers we’re around, keep moving, move on.”

Citizens on Patrol also helps with community events such as the Downtown Treat Trail and the Fall Fair Parade, as well as emergency response.

They have also been checking insurance decals in parking lots, finding them either missing or expired. A note is left on the vehicle reminding drivers to remedy the problem – and potentially saving hundreds of dollars.

Kershaw said property crime has begun edging up recently, so volunteers are spending more time at the malls.

Coun. Kevin Flynn agreed, explaining about someone recently breaking into his garage, which was unlocked at the time, and stealing items such as bikes and frozen meat.

“Even in your own house at 5:30 in the morning, I was broken into, and it’s a horrible feeling,” he said, warning residents to lock up garages at all times.

If you would like to apply to join, you can pick up an application at the RCMP detachment or go online to the City of Salmon Arm website or the Citizens on Patrol site at: http://members.shaw.ca/sacp/

 

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