Rural residents pushing back against crime

Hardly a day goes by that Jean Bota doesn’t hear about yet another incident of rural crime in Central Alberta.

Hardly a day goes by that Jean Bota doesn’t hear about yet another incident of rural crime in Central Alberta.

But a very frustrated rural community is starting to push back by becoming more aware of crime prevention, she said.

Bota, a board member for Red Deer/Lacombe Rural Community Crime Watch, said Wednesday that more and more other communities are reaching out to the organization seeking information about setting up their own group.

Over the past two years the crime watch group has held about 20 information meetings in other communities.

Criminals who think they can do whatever they want in rural areas may think they have free reign and can do what they want, but in fact, as one person told Bota recently, “We’re not fools.”

When Red Deer/Lacombe Rural Community Crime Watch hold the information meetings, they have a panel of experts, including RCMP, who clearly explain the rules, such as not taking the law into their own hands.

“It’s not something we advocate. In fact sometimes you just have to bring the crowd down because they’re very, very upset.”

“It probably could become your worst nightmare,” she said.

Bota is aware that some Saskatchewan farmers have taken to carrying firearms in their vehicles for self-protection when they are in the field because of rural crime concerns. She said she was not aware of any farmers in Central Alberta doing the same thing.

The crime watch group focuses on basic crime prevention measures such as knowing your neighbour, communicating with each other and locking valuables up. They bring in speakers at meetings who can offer advice like clearing property to make an area less vulnerable to crime, said Bota.

Her group tells a lot of people if they have rental properties or old buildings they should check on them once in awhile. Bota noted that a rental property in the Clive area was recently raided by police who found $400,000 in stolen property. Now a group of residents in the Satinwood area are looking at starting a crime watch group.

There are several Central Alberta crime watch social media sites, some open to the public and others are closed groups so neighbours can communicate with each other about suspicious behaviour or crime incidents.

“It takes a collective. We can’t operate in silos anymore. .. People are starting to get it,” Bota said.

Communication can be fast, she said. An attempted house break-in two weeks ago was seen remotely on a security camera by the owners who were away. Bota then alerted police who investigated quickly.

“It’s making sure you have communication and you know where and what to do with the information.”

People are frustrated with the justice system that sees people caught and then released soon after, Bota said. “People are really choked about that.”

But she said she is finding that rural communities are rallying together to fight crime through crime prevention.

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)
Not all long-term care workers have received their vaccines including a Red Deer facility

There continues to be confusion in long-term care and supportive living facilities… Continue reading

Cattle graze winter pasture in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies near Longview, Alta. on Jan. 8, 2004. Concern over the provincial government’s decision to drop a coal policy that has protected the eastern slopes of the Rockies for decades is growing among area communities. At least six cities, towns and municipal districts in southwest Alberta have now expressed concern about the decision and the fact it was made with no consultation. The latest is Longview, where mayor Kathie Wight is drafting a letter to the government opposing the move. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
More southern Alberta communities voice concern over province’s plans to expand coal

Concern over the Alberta government’s decision to drop a coal policy that… Continue reading

Some residents say there is no longer an effective Nordegg fire department to respond to emergencies in the West Country. (Contributed photo).
Some Nordegg residents worry about lack of emergency response in the West Country

The possibility of wildfires or accidents is ‘scary’ says former fire leader

(Advocate file photo).
Six idling vehicles stolen in last 48 hours: Red Deer RCMP

Red Deer RCMP said Wednesday six idling vehicles in the city were… Continue reading

FILE - Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has his final meeting of the season with the media at the NHL hockey team's practice facility in Cranberry, Pa., in this Wednesday, May 9, 2018, file photo. Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, a Hall of Famer who helped lead to a pair of Stanley Cup titles, resigned abruptly on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, who oversaw Cup wins, resigns

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, who oversaw Cup wins, resigns

Outfielder George Springer is shown in a screengrab from a virtual news conference he took part in on Wednesday, Jan.27, 2021. Springer says he's excited to be a part of a young, talented team like the Toronto Blue Jays, a club he believes has plenty of potential. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Blue Jays introduce outfielder George Springer after signing him to six-year deal

Blue Jays introduce outfielder George Springer after signing him to six-year deal

Bucs fans set to cheer inside, outside Super Bowl stadium

Bucs fans set to cheer inside, outside Super Bowl stadium

Hamilton Tiger Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli tries to fend off Saskatchewan Roughrider Zack Evans during first half CFL football game action in Hamilton on Thursday, June 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli signs extension with Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli signs extension with Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Ottawa Senators defenceman Thomas Chabot (72) tries to clear Vancouver Canucks centre Jay Beagle (83) from in front of Senators goaltender Marcus Hogberg (1) during second period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, January 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Demko dynamite as Vancouver Canucks beat Ottawa Senators 5-1

Demko dynamite as Vancouver Canucks beat Ottawa Senators 5-1

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) knocks a rebound away from Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell (24) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Lowry reaches 10,000-point plateau as a Raptor in 115-108 loss to Milwaukee

Lowry reaches 10,000-point plateau as a Raptor in 115-108 loss to Milwaukee

Dallas Stars right wing Alexander Radulov (47) and defenseman John Klingberg (3) celebrates a goal by Joe Pavelski against the Nashville Predators during the third period an NHL hockey game, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 in Dallas. (AP Photo/ Richard W. Rodriguez)
‘Sloppy’ hockey is the name of the game early in NHL season

‘Sloppy’ hockey is the name of the game early in NHL season

Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith instructs his team in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver on February 11, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, David Zalubowski
With less practice time, NHL morning skates making a comeback in 2021

With less practice time, NHL morning skates making a comeback in 2021

Most Read