The local RCMP have been making efforts to increase their visibility within the community, and do so in a way that targets issues before they become issues. In past years, as well as this year, there have been reports made to the RCMP regarding the area surrounding the Skate Park, North Ridge Community Centre, and 3rd Street North – as well as other areas throughout the community.
“We have been going out and making sure we increase our patrols, and take time to talk to people in the area to remind them that is an area where there is a lot of people, whether it be people walking their dogs, kids on bikes, or just people that live in the area. We want to encourage them to be mindful and respectful of people within the area and ensure the general safety of everyone. The goal is that maybe we can address the problem before people decide to break the law and avoid that kind of police interaction,” Sgt. Little stated.
So far, the interactions with the public have been well-received and Sgt. Little explained that they have been taking time to talk to youth in the area, and allow them to look at police in a different light, rather than seeing them on the side of the road with lights and sirens.
“We want to avoid taking it to that level, but we are certainly willing to enforce things where necessary and where needed, but what we want is to build some of those relationships a little by being out there and talking to whoever happens to be in the area at the time rather than just driving past it. I think that is really important,” Little added.
In addition to increasing police presence in the area, RCMP also have bicycle patrols within the community. In order to do this, members are required to take specific training, which Little noted they had additional members participate in this year.
“The intention is for us to be out as much as time allows doing bike patrols. It is one of those things where we have to ensure other calls for service are also being followed up on before we can get out on the bikes, but it is a big part of our strategy. The bikes can be on the streets, pathways, parking lots and in school areas. They are able to go wherever a car is and more, and we try to go out as much as possible, especially when the weather is nice. We are able to get in areas where you can’t see from a car and people also don’t necessarily see you as well,” Little explained.