For TerryLee Ropchan the opening of a new Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre in downtown Red Deer last week is just the beginning.
The tireless volunteer and advocate for making the city’s streets safer envisions an office with regular hours that can people can visit and a staffer who can go out into the community and meet with residents, businesses, police, civic officials, or anyone else with an interest in crime prevention.
Three organizations — Red Deer Neighbourhood Watch, Red Deer City Citizen’s On Patrol and Central Alberta Crime Stoppers — joined together for the crime prevention centre, which was officially opened last Tuesday at 108, 4711 51st Ave.
The initiative has already been getting good reviews.
“Since the announcement of the grand opening a lot of people are saying this is a great idea,” said Ropchan.
“And lots of people are inquiring whether we have hours yet, is there someone working there or can we just drop by?”
Unfortunately, for now, the answer to those questions is no.
But Ropchan and other community volunteers are hoping to change that.
The plan is to develop a proposal to raise the money needed to fund a staff position for the centre.
“That is our next big challenge to line up some of that funding, whether it’s grants or community support,” she said.
“We’d like to have the office staffed and we’d like to have them out in the community as well.”
Ropchan would like to have a staffer who could work out of the office and meet with local community groups and businesses to talk about what everyone can do to make the community safer. The person would also be expected to be source of information for all of the programs that are based out of the centre.
Neighbourhood Watch currently has a student employee, who has some office hours at the centre but the position is limited.
How best to maintain office hours while getting out into the community is a challenge that will need to be addressed as a funding proposal is developed.
“You want to be able to have that one-stop shop feel so if someone comes in and says ‘This is what is happening in my neighbourhood, what can I do?’ we can give them information from a variety of programs that would help them specific to what’s happening in their area.”
Ropchan said down the road she would also like to see other groups interested in crime prevention join the centre.
Those interested in getting information on any of the programs can leave a message at 403-986-9904 and someone will get back to them.