Residents in the Delburne and Elnora areas are moving ahead with forming a new rural crime watch group.
Delburne Chief Administrative Officer Karen Fegan said Friday that a meeting in the village attracted about 40 people earlier this week and resulted in a nine-member board being formed.
Fegan, who will chair the board to get things started, said that the new group hasn’t decided on its official name yet, but the rural crime watch area will encompass Delburne and Elnora, and the surrounding areas.
Many years ago there was a rural crime watch group but as crime fell, it became less a concern. The new group will make application to become an official society and then join the Alberta Provincial Rural Crime Watch Association.
Fegan said the area is a safe place to live, but this may make it that much safer.
She said there has been an increase in criminal activity in the area blamed in part on the current economic downturn. There have been break-ins in both the village and surrounding area and crimes such as stolen vehicles and other property have occurred. Stolen vehicles have also been found ditched in the area.
The plan to form the crime watch group was started well before a recent incident that led to a Delburne-area man, Daniel Wayne Newsham, 45, being charged with manslaughter after he allegedly followed a stolen vehicle on Aug. 14, and an ensuing crash claimed the life of the other driver, Stanley Dick, 32.
Some business owners in Delburne had come forward concerned about crime a while ago and wanted help from the village to do something about it, Fegan said. Three Hills RCMP was invited to speak and the communities then weighed forming a crime watch group versus Citizens on Patrol.
It was decided to form the watch group because there is enough crime in the area that people want to help reduce it by being proactive, Fegan said.