The organization had been undergoing a serious decline in interest until the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012 when the community experienced a rash of break-ins and thefts. Membership spiked and with increased monitoring of the region by the RCMP and the increased caution and ‘eyes’ of the Rural Crime Watch members, President Tully Johnson is pleased to report, “We did not have any crime in this region for the last year.”
President Tully explained the renewed interest. “Since all the crimes that started in September (2011) we have had a lot of interest. People phone and want to join but many don’t know really what Crime Watch consists of so that’s another thing we got to explain to them; that we are the eyes and the ears of the RCMP. We have roughly 80 members with markers (yellow and black signs identifying the landowner as a Crime Watch member) and some prospects and they will sign up. The crime rate has gone down so there was no crime in our area last year. It’s probably because of Crime Watch when the RCMP started really patrolling the roads.”
Tully asked for a couple motions from the floor:
1.) Approval to present a Rosebrier 4-H member with a $50 award and a plaque. The Club would decide who would qualify for the award, and why.
2.) Approval to host a BBQ for members and families in August of 2014 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Rosebrier Rural Crime Watch and Range Patrol. Both motions were passed.
Tully also informed the membership that Crime Watch, Alberta would be presenting a resolution to the Government suggesting penalties for distracted driving infractions be doubled from $172 and demerits be added. He was confident that with 7000 members, Crime Watch would receive some attention.
Cst. Laurie McGilvray, RCMP liaison with Rosebrier Rural Crime Watch emphasised the importance of the farmers being observant and when there is a potential crime, “Don’t hesitate to call 911. You have better ability to detect a potential crime than we do because when they see the police car, they vanish. Again, don’t hesitate to call whenever you see something unusual and suspect it might be a crime.” Cst. McGilvray provided additional information about current and evolving scams, the disrespect distracted drivers show for the distracted law. “The current fine is just too small to deter distracted drivers so we see many re-occurring offenders.”
President Tully shared the appreciation the Rosebrier Rural Crime Watch and Range Patrol has for the ongoing outstanding service by the RCMP with plaques reading, “Rosebrier Rural Crime Watch Appreciates and Honours RCMP members as officers in our district for preventing crime. It is a privilege of having cooperation in making our community a safer place to live”. Recipients included S./Sgt. Gary Rhodes, Cst. A. Morin, S./Sgt. Grant MacDonald, Cst. Gordon Courage, Cst. Laurie McGilvary, Cst. G.D. Gurski and Cpl. Mike Zinck.
For $20 members receive a 5 year membership and a gate sign. They also receive a numbered identification card that has been approved and recorded by the RCMP and coincides with their application. Residents can join the Rural Crime Watch by contacting Tully at (780) 352 0612 or by going to the Wetaskiwin RCMP detachment and filling out an application form.