Rural crime is increasing and people are fed up.
In response, Lloydminster MLA Colleen Young is holding a community meeting to address the issue.
“We have seen a considerable uptake in rural and Lloydminster city crime in the last few years,” said Young in an interview Feb. 19. “Theft of vehicles and personal home property has angered people.”
Young said she has received a number of emails and calls about rural crime. She said gang and drug-related activity (mainly crystal meth), is driving the property crime increase.
To help fight rural crime, the province created the Protection and Response Team in 2017 after recommendations made by the Caucus Committee on Crime. The PRT consists of 258 armed officers who have arrest and detention powers. This includes 120 police officers from RCMP and municipal police forces, 40 Ministry of Highways Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officers with expanded powers, and 98 Ministry of Environment Conservation Officers.
According to Battlefords MLA Herb Cox, committee chair, the absence of police visibility in rural areas was a main concern.
Young said the PRT has helped curb criminal activity and arrest criminals, seize drugs and recover stolen property.
In 2018, the province also expanded the Saskatchewan Crime Watch Advisory Network to central and northern Saskatchewan. In the network, RCMP detachment commanders send text messages, emails or phone calls to residents with information about criminal activity. Residents can then contact the police with tips related to the advisory.
To sign up for the Saskatchewan Crime Watch Advisory Network go to www.saskcrimewatch.ca.
The community meeting is scheduled for Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Marshall Community Centre in Marshall. Participants include the Maidstone RCMP, MLA Young, Saskatchewan Justice, Battlefords-Lloydminster MP Rosemarie Falk, RM of Britannia Reeve John Light and RM of Wilton councillors Neil Reece and Sharon Carruthers.
“The meeting will help folks gain information from the RCMP, on the work they have been doing, the investment the government has made in curbing rural crime, and the pilot project with the technology to help rural folks know who may be on their property and what the courts are seeing,” said Young.
Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist