Opinion: Action on crime prevention

Modeled after Block Watch, Agri-Watch demonstrates the power of numbers.

Complacency is a great enabler of crime.

It’s the perfect medium where illegal behaviour can take root and flourish.

We often don’t even know it’s happening. We assume an incident is isolated; that it won’t happen again; that reporting it to police will do no good.

But crime prevention is like pulling weeds: they’re easier to pull one at a time. Ignoring them, or avoiding the job for too long, only makes the task more difficult.

That’s why programs like Argi-Watch are so important (see story). They provide the tools necessary to respond quickly and effectively when our neighbourhoods are at risk.

Modeled after Block Watch, it demonstrates the power of numbers. It shows that neighbours watching out for neighbours can be an effective deterrent against property crimes.

Tapping the power of social media, and working in concert with RCMP, the program enables residents to be better aware of potential problems in their area. It allows them to share information, compare notes and take precautions.

That’s not always the case. Rural crime often goes unreported for a couple of reasons. One is that the insurance deductible is higher than in an urban neighbourhood. Consequently, the loss of a power tool or the disappearance of fuel might not warrant a call to the insurance broker and therefore a report to police.

And yet these calls are exactly what police need to track crime and identify hotspots. It provides the intelligence that allows them to focus resources where they’re needed.

But it also gives neighbours the heads-up that something isn’t right. Maybe that unfamiliar blue truck parked in the neighbour’s yard shouldn’t be there.

It would be nice to think of our pastoral landscape as immune to crime.

But it’s not.

And proactive initiatives like Block Watch and Agri-Watch give us the tools to fight back.