(File photo)

(File photo)

Coronation top cop discusses challenges of rural policing and tips to combat crime

Pike asks people to call the non-emergency complaint line at 403-578-3622

According to Coronation’s top-cop, the recent break-ins in Castor were just the latest in a half-dozen cases reported so far this summer.

At the beginning of July, Castor’s Value Drug Mart storage facility suffered a break-in, followed by the Castor Beaverdome, the Castor Golf Course and a private residence all in a period spanning just over a week.

These were followed by break-ins at the library and the Op-Shop in mid-August.

Given the items stolen in the most recent break-ins, Sgt. John Pike feels that the responsible parties could be community youth; however, the investigation is ongoing.

One issue challenging investigators is the lack of security cameras in the community and that of the ones that are there, “most people know where they are.”

“The more cameras, the better,” said Pike.

“If you get a camera, get a high quality one which will help us identify suspects.”

Pike noted that even though a suspect may have their face covered on one camera, if they get another view from a few blocks away of a person wearing the same clothing that with face uncovered, that is enough for the RCMP to take action.

As far as cameras go, Pike added that door bell cameras, which are becoming more popular, are also a good option as they can be remotely accessed from your phone.

Additionally, Pike says if you have a “gut feeling” that something is wrong, it probably is, and call it in.

“If something doesn’t add up, let us know,” said Pike.

“If we don’t know about (things) its hard to check (them).”

Pike says the more reports the detachment receives for suspicious activity in an area, the more his officers will patrol the area, but they need to know about it to do it. He noted that community people have been calling the administration line with suspicious activity, which is only answered during business hours Monday to Friday.

Instead, if community members do witness suspicious activity, Pike asks people to call the non-emergency complaint line at 403-578-3622. The number is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Someone will answer the phone, for sure,” Pike said.

Another issue Pike says the RCMP officers are facing is that often members of the community will inform them that certain individuals are performing crimes, like graffiti for instance, and should be watched, but are unwilling to do an official statement.

Pike notes that the tip gives his officers a starting point, but without actionable information there is not a lot that he or his members can do as the burden of proof required to get charges to stick in court is extremely high.

“We have to make sure we get that right,” said Pike.

“If people would come forward, that would be great too.”

Still, Pike notes that overall the officers in his detachment are clearing more cases through charges, which is “encouraging to see.”

As for reducing crime in businesses or homes, Pike encourages residents to get to know their neighbours, know what they drive, and know when unusual vehicles are driving by at unusual times.

Further to that, he recommends locking up valuables as most of the thieves are looking for targets of opportunity. If going away for an extended period, let your neighbours know so they can keep an eye on your home or get a house sitter.

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