Like many neighbouring communities, the RM of Garden River has been plagued with rural crime issues, but RM Reeve Ryan Scragg, along with the area residents, are proactively working to change that. In a recent Facebook post, Reeve Scragg informed residents of the recent theft and vandalism and called on the community members to work together to cope with rural crime;
“On Monday January 8th 2018, it was discovered that the RM of Garden River had become the latest victim of property crime. Security cameras as well as security lights were spray painted. RCMP officers say the likely target was the fuel tank located in the yard. Upon investigation it is clear that a large amount of fuel had been stolen.
Rural crime has become an epidemic in this province. This crime wave spurred on by drug addiction and unemployment needs to be addressed. We need to increase the security we place around our homes and businesses. As a community we need to be vigilant in our efforts to protect not just ourselves but the community as a whole. I’m calling on the citizens across this province to stand together against property crime. Get to know your neighbours. Look out for one another. Consider forming a Rural Crime Watch.
In the past there has been calls for increased rights for property protection, or so called “castle doctrine”. I don’t believe this is the solution. But we do need our justice system to step up when offenders are caught and deliver meaningful punishment. We need our provincial and federal government to stand up and address the root causes of property crime. This is not an issue we can ignore and hope it goes away. It’s going to require a real effort all the way from the highest offices in government right down to every member of the community.
I will share more information on this crime as more details become known. Please report any suspicious activity to the RCMP.”
This is not the first time Reeve Scragg has reached out to the ratepayers in his RM.
On November 26, 2017, he also posted on his Facebook page with advice how residents from any area dealing with rural crime can work together to keep their communities safer;
Ryan Scragg – Reeve of RM Garden River, Facebook Post November 26, 2017
Hello to all ratepayers and residents of the RM of Garden River #490, – Over the past year I’ve heard from many of you that property crime is a major concern. It is a concern I share and one that is not unique to our RM. It has become an issue in just about every area of Western Canada. This past Thursday I attended a Crime Watch meeting in Christopher Lake to learn more about how other areas are tackling this difficult issue.
Corporal Mel Zurevinski with the RCMP presented to a large group of local residents. I will share with you some of the advice that he presented to the group.
The number one way to help reduce crime in your area is to get to know your neighbours. You should know their names and their phone numbers. When you see what you believe to be suspicious activity, be sure to let your neighbours know. One resident told a story of a suspicious person coming to their door looking for directions. After the vehicle left in the opposite direction to which they were told to go, this resident called the closest neighbours he had numbers for and told them to be on the lookout. The next morning it was discovered that one neighbour who had not been home had been robbed.
Another way to help reduce property crime is to install security cameras. Make them highly visible. Even if the cameras are not enough to stop someone from stealing from you, they will provide the RCMP with evidence that can be used to find and prosecute those responsible. Also, make sure your yard is well lit and looks lived in.
It is a worthwhile investment to buy an engraver to mark your belongings. Once again this is very helpful to the RCMP in the case that you have your property stolen. If your items aren’t marked there is no way for the RCMP to track them down.
RURAL CRIME WATCH
The core focus of the meeting was to explain how the Rural Crime Watch program works. Essentially it is a community driven organization that relies on the entire community for it to be successful. The program works by first setting up an executive committee. Members of the executive would ideally be spread all across the RM. The next step is for all participants of the program to get a criminal record check completed. This could be accomplished all at one time in conjunction with the RCMP at a town hall meeting. The next step is for all participants to get signed up to the local crime watch app that would be available for iPhone and Android phones. This app would be used to communicate quickly with all members of the group, as well as two members of the RCMP who would be the liaisons for the group.
The central focus of the rural crime watch program is to observe and report any suspicious activity so that local people know to be on the lookout, and so that RCMP can be kept in the loop of said activity. The app would also allow the RCMP to advise the members of the rural crime watch when there is known activity in the area and to give instructions on what to do.
As I stated earlier, for a Rural Crime Watch to be successful it needs broad active support by all those in the community. It will require several people from across the RM to be on the executive. The RM of Garden River would not be directly involved in the managing and coordinating of the group. I think its important that the RM and the potential Rural Crime Watch group work closely together, which could mean a member of the executive periodically attending RM meetings in order to give reports on rural crime in the RM. At our next RM meeting our council will discuss ways in which we could help to facilitate the formation of this group. If you are interested in forming a crime watch in our RM, please email the RM.
Ryan Scragg, Reeve
Ryan Scragg is the Reeve of the Rural Municipality of Garden River located northeast of Prince Albert, SK. With the RM office located approximately 42 km northeast of Prince Albert and 100 km west of Nipawin, SK, in Meath Park. Garden River No. 490 is home to the urban municipalities of Meath Park, Albertville, and Weirdale.
Reader’s Opinion; This post content is republished with permission from Ryan Scragg. Feature photo credit; Ryan Scragg/Facebook