Highlights this past year’s activities by Executive/ Board members of Red Deer/Lacombe Rural Crime Watch (RCW).

The 2016-2017 RCW Board and Executive held its AGM on March 25, 2017 at Valley Centre Hall east on Highway 595, in the Red Deer county.  The following was the report given by the outgoing president, Becky Jardine.

Our Rd/Lacombe RCW continued their work over this past year  in “refining” the email fan outs to our  RCW membership with  increasing the frequency.  Our fan out is conducted through an operating system of Box Clever ( Mail Guide) and in addition to ALERTS from the RCMP, it also contains educational information about scams, current ” hot spots” within the Blackfalds detachment area and general information about what is happening crime wise in Central Alberta.

Our  FB page has grown exponentially over the past 2 years, with our FB posts reaching  over 6500 people as of March 23, 2017!  Social media is an extremely powerful avenue in sharing  information, and to help prevent/ solve crime.  Our FB page is connected to numerous other RCW and crime prevention groups in Central Alberta as far south as SE Alberta RCW and as far north as Boyle RCW, in addition to FB pages with  Red Deer News & Area, Central Alberta Victim & Witness Support Society,  & Edmonton City Limits plus many  private community FB pages.

Our website has had over 31,000 visits. We are also in the process of having the website revamped so that it can be continually updated with current information/events.

I am also happy to report that as of today’s date, our RCW membership is at 252 members.

Our RCW Executive, in cooperation with the RCMP and County Patrols, have continued to conduct information sessions in various communities throughout Red Deer and Lacombe counties. These information sessions have provided Education information /tools for communities to combat crime in their areas.  The format has been to have a panel of RCMP, County Patrol and RCW Executive members  answer questions, and give crime prevention information pertaining to their work or group.

The County Patrol and RCMP provide information about their roles in the county, and telephone numbers, for residents  to call in the case of criminal activity, or county bylaw matters.  In addition our RCW members are taught what a suspicious activity is, and encouraged to report  all suspicious activity to the RCMP.  Crime prevention information is provided to the RCW membership  stressing the importance of getting to know your neighbours, marking and securing property, and creating email fan outs or Facebook pages ( closed)  for their community to share information.  This past year RCW Executive and Board members have attended information sessions in the following communities:  C&E Trail, Caroline Crime Watch, Queens/Burnt Lake Industrial Park, Nova Chemicals, Petrolia Business Park, Balmoral Community Hall, Valley Center Hall, and Haynes Community Hall.    We have also attended numerous community events promoting and encouraging membership with our RCW.

As well as the community information sessions, myself, Board member Jean Bota, and two Petrolia Business Park businessmen (RCW members), met with MLA Kim Schreiner to discuss crime issues in the Rural area, and provide ideas on how to combat crime.

Our RCW also hosted the Provincial Zone 2 meeting at the Lacombe Memorial Center. We shared our successes as RCW’s in the Central Alberta region by discussing what is working, as well as holding a workshop, on  where we could improve our communication. In Zone 2 there is 24 RCW groups, and we had participation from 16 groups.  A definite sign that communities are looking for information and different methods to educate and inform their membership.

We will also be hosting the Provincial RCW AGM in February of 2018 at the Lacombe Memorial Center.

Over the last month, our RCW Board members Floyd Mullaney and Jean Bota have reviewed our three year strategic plan to identify areas requiring change and improvement. These items will be addressed during the upcoming year.

In addition Jean and Floyd have been working on a Business Watch Pilot project, to be  commence  in Gasoline Alley, Petrolia and Energy Business parks. Business watch will establish communication links between businesses/ the RCMP and the business community, in order to deter and detect crimes as well as diminish opportunities for crime.

Over the past year we welcomed two new additions to the RCW team. Cpl. Jason McFarlane transferred to Blackfalds Detachment and is our new RCMP liaison.  Lacombe County has a new Senior Community Peace Officer, Mark Sproule, who has also joined our RCW team.

Going forward the RCW will continue to work closely with the Blackfalds RCMP and the Red Deer and Lacombe County Patrols, to encourage more people to become RCW members, to provide information to citizens and businesses in the RCW area, and to encourage cooperation between various groups in our communities in order to combat crime.

Finally, as the outgoing President of the Rural Crime Watch, I thank you for your support over the past two years. I would encourage you to become involved in the RCW as a board member.  The RCW is always in need of people to sit on the board as well as committees in order to keep the RCW viable in our rural communities in  upcoming years.  ~~ thank you Becky Jardine..