Some Gasoline Alley businesses have joined a business watch group to reduce crime and strengthen their community. (File photo by Advocate staff)

Gasoline Alley businesses work together on crime

Business watch group wants to grow

Gasoline Alley businesses are getting to know each other and helping address crime at the same time.

Last fall about 15 businesses began reaching out to each other on the west side of Gasoline Alley as part of a pilot project to form a business watch group.

Brenda Neufeld, one of the owners of Turple Bros. Ltd., said it’s all about businesses supporting each other.

“We’re trying to get the morale up and not feeling so frustrated about current economic times and the amount of criminal activity going on,” Neufeld said on Monday.

“It’s more about being a stronger community. There’s a lot of good people out there.”

She said members will be looking to expand the group by knocking on doors and having the odd get-together to meet each other and share what’s going on in the area.

“The biggest thing is knowing your neighbour. It’s a good thing.”

She said crime against businesses has persisted, but suspicions are now passed around to alert businesses of potential problems.

“(Crime) is a continual thing as far as shoplifting or stealing gas caps and siphoning fuel out of company vehicles, causing damage and breaking locks outside that are on trailers.”

Neufeld said Turple Bros has been working on crime prevention through things like video cameras and putting up signs that alert people that the cameras operate 24 hours a day.

Wayne Hatten, resident manager at Western Budget Motel, said he has seen a reduction in crime since people have started keeping a sharper eye on their surroundings and their neighbours.

“It’s the old story, two heads are better than one,” Hatten said.

“At this point I’m really happy with it. My wife and I, we’re residents. It’s our home.”

He said maybe word has gotten out that businesses in Gasoline Alley are keeping watch and some criminals have realized they should go elsewhere.

“Everyone has to play a part and it seems to be working. We just hope it continues.”

He said RCMP have been a great help. Officers will drive through the parking lot when they can. About a week ago an officer just stopped in to say hi.

“If we see things that are a little out of the ordinary, something that brings up a red flag, we’re not vigilantes, we phone (the RCMP) and let them deal with it.”

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