Cit­i­zens have duty to aid po­lice

Se­nior of­fi­cer says it’s not good enough to com­plain af­ter a crime oc­curs

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS

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.

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