By Cole Parkinson
Rural Crime Watch in the Municipal District of Taber is coming closer to reality.
After a pair of RCW meetings in both Taber and Vauxhall, the strong turnout gives reason to believe the organization will be implemented in the region sooner, rather than later.
“For Vauxhall, we had 10 come out and Taber we had 20. We had additional names come forward even beyond the meetings. As far as the turnout, I couldn’t be more pleased. And to see so many members of council come out and show support and sit in on the meetings, it made me very happy to see that. I’ve said right from the get-go, this is going to be a community thing. It is not about me or anyone other person, it is about the community as a whole,” said Sgt. Gord Yetman at the M.D. of Taber’s regular meeting on March 26.
One of the crucial pieces to getting RCW up and running in the M.D. of Taber was finding individuals willing to sit on the board. While looking for volunteers can be a daunting task at times, the reports around the board after the initial meeting are more than positive.
“Even better news, board interest. I was a little bit cautious as to how many people would express an interest in being on the board. We had 30 people attend the meetings and almost half of the people were looking to sit on a board. We had 14 indicate they were interested in being on the board to get this thing off the ground,” added Yetman.
Trying to continue the forward progress they have made over the past few months, the Taber area RCW is hoping to organize another meeting soon in order to get the board finalized.
“We’ve got momentum right now so to that end, on March 21, once I had compiled a list of all the names, I was able to see who was interested in being on the board. I sent out emails that were indicated they were interested and I have gotten back eight responses. We are now in a position to form a board. My timeline I have got for that is, based on everyone’s schedules and what not, is going to be between now and the middle of April,” continued Yetman.
Once the board is finalized, collaboration between them and the provincial RCW group will be paramount in gaining traction in the M.D. of Taber.
Before that can be set up though, another meeting will be needed to get the board members signed up.
“I have gotten a commitment from the provincial Rural Crime Watch that they are going to work with our board and basically help us get everything where it needs to be. Hopefully, I will have that date for the meeting soon, once I see from everyone’s emails what works for them and a location. For such a small number of people, we can have the meeting anywhere,” explained Yetman.
With Rural Crime Watch an initiative to be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the community, the prior meetings have already yielded more calls to the RCMP to report suspicious activity.
“It seems like since we’ve had the meetings on March 16, we have had a couple of calls of suspicious activities in rural areas. One was called in by a gentleman who said ‘I was at the Crime Watch meetings and we were told to report suspicious activities’, so he did. It led to our members going out, finding the vehicle and one of the people in the vehicle had a Canada wide warrant for their arrest,” stated Yetman. “Turns out, they spilled the beans and admitted they were out committing break and enters on rural properties. It snowballed into a fairly substantial investigation.”