Red Deer RCMP are encouraging residents to continue the good habits they’ve developed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cpl. Michael Evans said extra patrols have been on the streets to keep an eye out for crime during the widespread economic shutdown in recent weeks.
Residents were also on the lookout, judging by a slight increase in reports of unknown people or vehicles in their neighbourhoods.
He encouraged people to keep in touch with the neighbours they got to know during the pandemic to continue to help prevent break-ins and thefts.
With people leading busy lives, many didn’t know their neighbours, but the pandemic has changed that.
“We were able to reach out and have a chit chat from one side of the fence to the other.”
He said residents may be staying closer to home this summer, but they should remain vigilant and protect their property, for example, by activating their security systems and leaving some lights on when not at home.
“Criminals are going to be out venturing and taking opportunities where there are vulnerable areas. Let’s make sure we don’t give people opportunities.”
He said businesses that have yet to reopen are encouraged to partner with other businesses to regularly check their properties.
“Even though we drive by, we don’t always know what’s suppose to be there and what’s not suppose to be there. (Businesses) know what is right and wrong,” Evans said.
Jeff Giesbrecht, Tri-West Security operations manager, said security was definitely a concern for Red Deerians.
“People wanted an increase security presence for their homes, assets, businesses. Basically, anything they had that was worth something and could be stolen, they wanted security for it,” Giesbrecht said.
He said businesses experienced an increase in petty thefts, such as fuel and batteries.
Car dealerships were a target, along with oilfield companies. The demand for remote video monitoring jumped and Tri-West developed new monitoring technology for clients.
“We can talk to people, set off lights, sirens. It’s basically a big deterrent for the bad guys.”
He said security members were also busy at stores.
“Every large-box store company wanted security guards to monitor people coming into the stores,” Giesbrecht said.
If you spot a crime in progress, call 911. To report theft or vandalism, call Red Deer RCMP’s non-emergency line at 403-343-5575.
Theft under $5,000 can also be reported online at https://ocre-sielc.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/alberta.
Evans said RCMP are easing back into normal operations as COVID-19 starts to release its grip on the community.
Officers were divided into groups to work with the same members, to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 among police.
Fortunately, the virus was not a problem, and none of the shifts were required to go into quarantine.
He said the detachment is returning to pre-pandemic routines.
“Everyone is getting geared up this week, back into their units,” Evans said.