Rural crime rash prompts response

A continued rash of property crimes in and around Alexis Creek has provoked residents to form a Citizens on Patrol program.

A continued rash of property crimes in and around Alexis Creek has provoked residents to form a Citizens on Patrol program.

“We had about 25 people out to a meeting here last night,” said Alexis Creek Sgt. Michael Hacker Wednesday. “It was the third meeting we’ve had. We’re still in the organizing phase.”

Hacker said there has been an increase in stolen vehicles, break-and-enters and property crime in the area due to offenders between Williams Lake and Alexis Creek returning to their respective communities to commit crime.

“Those particular offences are most visible to the public,” Hacker said. “Other types of crime generally don’t have the same kind of impact that property crime does.”

Most of the thieves, if they are prolific offenders, are pretty good at what they do and hard to attach to the crimes they commit, he said, making it a challenge for policing success.

“When we do make an arrest we’re usually able to make a big difference because it’s one person or just a few who are responsible for 90 per cent of the property crime.”

Rural Crime Watch exists out west, but one of the problems is always finding capacity.

“It’s not like Williams Lake where they have 150 volunteers for community policing. We might have 10.”

Residents will have to be trained and Hacker said they are probably a few weeks away from doing any patrolling.

Any community policing program would have to be tailored to the specifics of Alexis Creek, he added.

The detachment is responsible for five different First Nations communities, as well as  several non-First Nations communities in the Cariboo Chilcotin area.

“There are a number of different communities. In some ways they have common interests, in other areas they don’t, depending on the demographics within those areas.”

The detachment is working as hard as it can with its resources, he said.

“We’ve never tried some of the community policing efforts that are established in Williams Lake. It is a challenge in a small environment,” Hacker said.

Usually the same people sign up to volunteer to make their communities better.

“These folks are busy, busy people. Their ranching operations are a 24-hour a day operation and to ask them to come out and do a patrol for two to three hours is going to be difficult.”

 

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