Citizens have duty to aid police
Senior officer says it’s not good enough to complain after a crime occurs
The most senior police officer in the Trinity-Conception region says the attitudes of some citizens in rural communities have to change if they expect to reduce crime.
S/ Sgt. Rick Robinson, commander of the Trinity Conception District RCMP, says it’s impossible to post a police officer on every street corner. So it’s important that citizens be the eyes and ears of police.
“ People that live in communities that are remote have a duty and civic responsibility to aid the police by reporting suspicious activity. We welcome and rely on that kind of support and co-operation,” Robinson states.
Robinson was responding to criticism of the level of police presence in Brownsdale following a break-in at the Trinity Bay community’s postal outlet during the early hours of Jan. 8.
The culprits made off with a safe, which contained a quantity of cash, cheques and money orders, police say. Up to late last week, no arrests had been made.
It’s the second time in six months that thieves have made off with the safe.
A community leader, speaking on provincewide radio, complained that police patrols are unsatisfactory, and predictable.
Robinson says it’s easy to complain after a crime is committed, but asks, “ how about helping us instead?”
He says taking the opinion that “it’s a police problem” is not in the best interest of a community.
“ I grew up in small rural communities in Newfoundland at a time when everyone in the community noticed when someone strange was around or when something was out of place. It should be no different now, but it is,” he says.
“ It seems that now when something happens or something gets stolen there are those people that think in a manner that I cannot fathom. The immediate response they seem to have is, ‘where were the police?’ and it becomes a police failing that the place was broken into. There is something very wrong with that picture.”
Sentencing an issue
Robinson confirmed that an RCMP officer drove by the Brownsdale post office during a regular patrol on the night of the break-in, but
S/Sgt. Rick Robinson commands the Trinity Conception District RCMP.
did not notice anything out of place.
“ We do make regular patrols in all areas of our district as our resource capacity allows,” Robinson explains. “ We are dedicated to following up with our investigations very thoroughly and checking all possible leads.”
Robinson says police had good success in 2010 apprehending several break and enter suspects from the St. John’s area that were committing crimes in the Trinity-Conception region. Unfortunately, he adds, they were only sentenced for a short period of custody and are “ back at it again.”
He says the police have no control over the sentencing for these crimes.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Canada Post, Denise Corra, described the Brownsdale breakin as “ very serious.”
She reminded business owners that Canada Post money orders are equipped with security features to prevent fraud. She also encouraged anyone presented with a suspicious money order to call the 1-800 number on the back to confirmed whether the money was stolen.
The post office in Brownsdale, which serves roughly 150 customers in Brownsdale and nearby Sibley’s Cove and Lead Cove, is not visible from nearby homes. Area residents say the community is normally very quiet, and a crime of this nature is the talk of the area.
The post office opened in its current location about 13 years ago, and up until last summer, there had been no trouble.
Corra said Canada Post will invest in better security measures “in light of these breaks-ins,” but she wouldn’t specify what type of measures.
She said Canada Post operates roughly 1,000 postal outlets in Atlantic Canada, and breakins are “ very rare.” So having two in the past six months is cause for concern, she stated.
“ The safety and security of the mail and our employees is a top priority for us,” Corra said. “ We are co-operating fully with the RCMP and we hope for a good outcome.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the RCMP or Crime Stopper at 1-800-222-TIPS.