Thursday, August 19, 2010

Recent Crime and Lack of Police Presence

I have heard concerns from some residents of Torbay with regards to crime and what appears to be a lack of police presence in our town. I know recently the community has had it's share of incidents that are not characteristic of life in Torbay.

One resident of the Flemings Hill/ North Pond area contacted me to say that there has been an official petition presented to council regarding a speed bump in that area. He also expressed concern about the apparent lack of police presence in the town and residential areas as a whole. I know recently the RNC moved their office from the Town Hall to the Kinsmen Center, I can only assume this was in response to the concerns I have heard from surrounding residents who have complained about vandalism and possible drug dealing around the skate park.

What can we do as a community to prevent and fight crime? Well I have some experience with Neighbourhood Watch and it proved to be an effective public response to this type of criminal behavior. I don't know exactly what the rules are here in Torbay as it relates to setting up a group but the last group I was in had established guidelines outlined by the local police.

There is a small blurb on the RNC website related to Neighbourhood Watch but not a lot of details. I guess in order to set up a group you would need to contact either the RNC or the RNC Community Office to get the details. As they need to be involved anyway that is probably the best place to start.

Basically how it works is that a group of people get together and start the group with the support of the RNC and report any suspicious activity that they see either through a Block Captain or directly to the police, at least that is how my last group worked.

One of the rewarding aspects of these types of community programs is that it gets people out and meeting their neighbours and other residents on their street and neighbourhood. I found this particularity helpful when I lived in Ottawa because it was not unusual to only know your immediate neighbors and many times next door neighbors had absolutely no interaction with each other. When communities are basically strangers it is easier to ignore vandalism, theft or worse happening to someone on your street when you don't know them, basically mind your own business. However when you have the occasional meeting to discuss what is going on in the neighbourhood and have conversations with other residents it brings the community closer together. It makes people take a crime against someone in the group more personal and therefore more likely to take an interest and report it.

With that in mind these types of programs should be easy to get off the ground in a town like ours because most people already know each other and approaching them is a lot easier. I would say from my experience living in Torbay for most of my life that people will generally take an interest in what is going on and all is left to do is formalize the activities and share the information with the police. Because the police are a partner in Neighbourhood Watch it is an effective way to increase police presence and cooperation within the community.

Maybe this type of initiative is what needs to take place in our town and the more groups that are established the greater the net of community protection and crime prevention will be cast. Once the groups are known to criminals and arseholes alike they will be more likely to move beyond an area with an active Watch in place to somewhere they feel is a lesser risk.

If you would like to set up a watch I think you need to contact someone at the RNC with Community Services

3 comments:

  1. Neil ScottAugust 19, 2010

    When I was down there for two weeks during the summer I did not see one police car in Torbay.When I was growing up there we would see two, three or four different cars every night. I guess either cutbacks at the RNC have reduced patrols or crime is down. I put my money on cutbacks.

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  2. Maybe you didn't see any police because you were a sleep while the sun was up LOL

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  3. Hi Craig, They could use a few police cars on Indian Meal Line just to ticket all the speeders.

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