Southey res­i­dents seek an­swers on ru­ral crime

Regina Leader-Post - - CITY+REGION - MARK MELNYCHUK mmel­ny­chuk@post­media.com

RCMP mem­bers met with res­i­dents in Southey on Wed­nes­day to tell them what po­lice are do­ing about ru­ral crime, but had no easy an­swers for how to deal with an in­truder.

The RCMP has been hold­ing town halls in its de­tach­ment ar­eas across the prov­ince in re­sponse to con­cerns about crime in ru­ral Saskatchewan. Such crime is some­thing the RCMP said its statis­tics in­di­cate is trend­ing down, but that is lit­tle con­so­la­tion to res­i­dents.

Ap­prox­i­mately 60 peo­ple at­tended the meet­ing. One ques­tion that came up mul­ti­ple times was how prop­erty own­ers should han­dle in­trud­ers who come onto their land with the in­tent to steal or do harm.

Dar­rell Wag­ner, a res­i­dent of the RM of Cu­par, asked what some­one should do if a per­son en­ters his house with a gun or a knife.

Po­lice did their best to ad­vise res­i­dents on what ac­tions they should take, but aside from seek­ing safety and call­ing 911, Sgt. Dean Gherasim said he couldn’t give a sim­ple an­swer be­cause ev­ery sit­u­a­tion is dif­fer­ent. Gherasim said there are pro­vi­sions in the Crim­i­nal Code that al­low some­one to pro­tect them­selves or their prop­erty, but the way they do it has to be rea­son­able.

“What­ever de­ci­sion you make, you will be asked to jus­tify why you needed to take that course of ac­tion,” said Gherasim.

One res­i­dent asked what he should do if some­one tries to steal his truck. Const. Jack Clay cau­tioned that con­fronting some­one could change the sit­u­a­tion into some­thing more se­ri­ous.

Ref­er­enc­ing the sce­nario of a stolen pickup truck, Clay asked “Even the pickup, was the pickup worth that? If you end up in a sit­u­a­tion where lives change dras­ti­cally?”

Po­lice urged res­i­dents to re­port crimes. The in­for­ma­tion, even if it seems triv­ial, can help. Po­lice said in many cases the cul­prits hit mul­ti­ple ar­eas, so what might seem like iso­lated crimes could be part of some­thing larger hap­pen­ing.

When it comes to crime pre­ven­tion, Clay said there has been a resur­gence in ru­ral crime watch groups, which work with po­lice. Mes­sag­ing tech­nol­ogy is help­ing crime watch groups be­come more ef­fec­tive. Res­i­dents com­mu­ni­cate sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity to one an­other in a group chat through a free mes­sag­ing app called What­sApp. An RCMP li­ai­son also mon­i­tors the chat for any tips.

Po­lice ad­vised in­vest­ing in trail cam­eras or putting up warn­ing signs if a res­i­dent owns a dog. Res­i­dents were also ad­vised to lock their homes and ve­hi­cles.

Southey res­i­dent Thera Nordal said there is ten­sion that comes from peo­ple be­ing afraid of be­ing put in a sit­u­a­tion they may not be able to han­dle.

“It’s more driven by fear, I think, be­cause you hear about your neigh­bour or you hear what’s in the news and you think ‘Gosh, what if that’s me.’ So it’s scary,” said Nordal.

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