Volunteers will patrol downtown Red Deer to help keep the city safe.
A media conference was held at the Red Deer RCMP’s downtown detachment Friday afternoon to discuss the Citizens on Patrol program, which will now monitor the downtown through new foot patrols.
“We’re going to be downtown on foot in pairs. We’re going to go out and interact with people who live downtown and the business owners,” said Tyler Magill, Citizens on Patrol president.
“We’ll be a presence down there and hopeful citizens will want to come back into the community and feel safe and comfortable.”
Magill said Citizens on Patrol is the “eyes and ears” of the community, and it will contact police if something suspicious is spotted.
“I feel it’s the responsibility of every citizen of Red Deer to give back, be part of the community and keep it safe for everyone,” said Magill.
Red Deer RCMP Const. Derek Turner said it’s important for members of the community to help police.
“We all have to come together and, for lack of a better term, take back our downtown,” said Turner.
“When I took them out a couple weeks ago for their first walk downtown, it was absolutely amazing, the feedback we got from everyone. People were honking their horns, waving, stopping and saying, ‘Thank you. It’s about time.’
“Business owners were offering them coffee and food.”
Having Citizens on Patrol and police officers monitoring the streets will help eliminate the perception downtown Red Deer is unsafe, Turner added.
“The more our community sees them down there … the more regular citizens are going to want to come downtown,” Turner said.
“It gives some comfort to people using our downtown area, who live and work downtown, to know there are people looking out for them.”
Citizens on Patrol volunteers will typically conduct downtown foot patrols Thursday to Saturday in the afternoons and evenings.
Janise Somer, Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre program development co-ordinator, said the Citizens on Patrol program is needed in Red Deer.
“We are very excited to see the organization is growing … and a lot of people want to get involved in crime prevention and want to know how to do that. Citizens on Patrol is certainly a way to do that,” said Somer.
It’s important Red Deerians help the police because “the RCMP cannot be everywhere all the time.”
“Citizens want to feel empowered. They sometimes feel vulnerable as victims in Red Deer. This way, we empower them to take control of the situation and provide a valuable service to the community,” she said.
More information is on Citizens on Patrol is available at www.cacpc.ca.