Here’s how you can stop crime in Terrace, B.C.

Columnist Claudette Sandecki asked Terrace RCMP what citizens can do to help combat crime

Speaking to the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce last month, RCMP detachment commander Inspector Dana Hart said, “I firmly believe the police service is only as good as the community who is willing to participate and help the police. The RCMP is only as committed as the community is.”

Reading this on Facebook, one reader posted, “So how do we get involved to help?”

Indeed, what can the community do to combat crime?

I promptly emailed the question to Const. Angela Rabut, Media Relations Officer: “Specifically, what can citizens do to help?” In short order, I received her reply:

• Report crime. This includes suspicious activity.

• Volunteer. This could be in anything. It makes for a stronger community when there are programs for people to take part in. Youth programs make stronger adults. Adult programs also are important. It creates pride, ownership, and connectedness to the community.

• Support and volunteer for organizations like Crime Stoppers, restorative justice, and the Terrace auxiliary program. These are crime prevention programs and the bigger and stronger they are the more effective they can be. To re-establish Citizens on Patrol and Neighbourhood Watch a community volunteer is needed to step up and coordinate the program, with our support.

•Speak up! Talk to your elected representatives about what is important to you for a safe community. This is how programs are brought into a community, and how existing ones are funded.

• Take advantage of a free Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design assessment of your home or business from our trained auxiliary member.

• Support and help your police. Police officers are only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

With Rabut’s blueprint for action, I reviewed the list for something I’m qualified to do and have an interest in doing. I don’t drive in the dark which eliminates  attending meetings, sitting on boards, or participating in Neighbourhood Watch or Citizens on Patrol.

Being an introvert, volunteering has never fit my personality. I would feel  like I’m imposing, poking my nose where it doesn’t belong. And I’d need to brandish a bullwhip to persuade anyone to follow my lead if they had a choice to do otherwise.

Which boils down my choices to speaking up. Writing to my elected representatives about what is important to me for a safe community.

I’ve always reported crime, even when it turned out there was no crime. Police say it’s better to report anything that looks suspicious than to ignore it and maybe miss a chance to thwart a crime. Think of how many people have had their homes gutted of TVs and other valuables by fake movers  while neighbours  might have watched.

Three crimes I reported come to mind:

Biking  the north frontage road opposite the Thornhill fire hall my daughter and I met two cars drag racing. She memorized one licence number, I the other. We reported both when we got home.

When our area experienced frequent arsons I chanced upon a two-gallon  can of gas stashed in the bush where I  walked my dogs.

And last fall, waiting in line to cross into Terrace over the old bridge, a sports car  coming from Queensway cut in front of me though I was third from the end of the moving line. I couldn’t see the driver because the car had tinted windows but suspected an aggressive teen. I drove straight to the RCMP to report the incident and licence number.  RCMP later told me the driver was  a woman in her 70s.