Cpl. Amelia Hayden encourages citizens to come to a community information meeting on a neighbourhood Block Watch Program on April 26 at 7 p.m. at the Echo Field House. KARLY BLATS PHOTO

Cpl. Amelia Hayden encourages citizens to come to a community information meeting on a neighbourhood Block Watch Program on April 26 at 7 p.m. at the Echo Field House. KARLY BLATS PHOTO

Block Watch meeting aims to empower citizens

Residents are invited to a community meeting on April 26 to learn about the RCMP initiative

Alberni Valley residents who are interested in making a difference in their neighbourhoods, by helping to reduce property crime, are invited to a community Block Watch program information session hosted by the Port Alberni RCMP on Wednesday, April 26.

The Port Alberni detachment hope to empower citizens to take an active role in their neighbourhoods by becoming members of the program.

“We as the RCMP can help make strides to address property crime issues by empowering citizens of Port Alberni to take an active role,” said Cpl. Amelia Hayden.

The program is an RCMP initiative to reduce property crime—one of the Port Alberni detachment’s priorities for this year.

Since March, Hayden said there has already been some interest in the Block Watch Program.

Citizens who are interested, she said, will learn the skills to look out for themselves and their neighbourhoods which often leads to an increased likelihood of criminal apprehension.

“They’ll know what to look for and what to report and how to communicate amongst themselves,” Hayden said.

The Block Watch Program developed in 1973 in the United States and a Block Watch Society was formed in B.C. in 1993.

With the implementation of Block Watch Programs, Hayden said neighbourhoods often see a dramatic decline in property crime.

Each neighbourhood will assign a captain and co-captain who will be responsible for providing a criminal record check. They will work as leaders for the group. Each neighbourhood will also have a Block Watch sign, similar to a speed sign, installed on the street.

The meeting will take place at Echo Field House at 7 p.m. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to learn how and why the program works and how it will be moved forward. For more information, call the community policing office at 778-421-3992.

karly.blats@albernivalleynews.com

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