Foot patrols start in Nass village

Residents of the Nass Valley village of Gingolx are taking steps to make streets safer at night.

  • Mar. 19, 2012 7:00 p.m.

RESIDENTS OF the Nass Valley village of Gingolx are taking more steps to rid the streets of bad influences with a community nighttime street patrol.

“What they struggle with is, you know, public drunkenness, general disorderly anti-social behaviour,” said Sergeant Donovan Tait, the commander of the  Lisims/Nass RCMP detachment.

There are also problems with dogs running loose, barking and scaring children, said the sergeant.

The idea behind the foot patrols is that people like to carry out their bad behaviour in public and the presence of a patrol can work by letting people know they’re being watched so they stop their bad behaviour or take it indoors, said Tait.

“I’ve seen neighbourhoods in bigger places with moms and kids and dogs and grandmothers and babies in carriages walking in the street,” he said of the example of other foot patrols.

The foot patrols follow up on the successful youth march against drug dealers and bootleggers that took place earlier this month in the village.

Foot patrols started this past weekend on March 16 and are set to go from 10 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. through March 26.

“I think another opportunity unique to aboriginal people is the cultural side. No matter how bad the bad guy or rubberhead, you respect the culture, you respect the elders before you do the police,” Tait said of the patrols.

He said while the foot patrol members can call police, a community member or an elder if anything happens, likely their presence will be enough to deter anti-social behaviour.

“For some of the stuff they may not need the police,” said Tait.

“It’s not Sodom and Gomorrah. It’s anti-social behaviour youths shouldn’t be seeing.”

Foot patrol organizer Abby Stewart, who is the Gingolx Village Government Social Development Administrator, really cares about the health and welfare of the community, said Tait.

While the seven members of the Lisims/Nass RCMP detachment plan to accompany the foot patrol when possible, Tait stresses that the patrol is a community-led idea.

“There was a problem out there, a significant problem that I think the community just needed support and just to bounce some ideas off another agency whether it’s us or [federal] fisheries so we said ‘these are the things that work in other places,” he said about how the police are helping the foot patrol get started.