Mounties in Cold Lake say rural crime open houses are working when it comes to educating landowners on their rights. The forums are conducted in partnership with Peace Officers from the MD of Bonnyville. On January 17th officers and interested residents in the Beaverdam area sat down at the Beaverdam Hall to talk rural crime. Cold Lake RCMP Staff Sergeant Scott Buchanan says he finds the process very engaging.
“Every time that I go to this type of meeting there are some specific questions that come up. It’s in regards to protection of property and the rights of property owners to defend their property and themselves.”
Last year Stats Canada said the MD of Bonnyville saw an increase in crime overall between 2016 and 2017. The MD has used education like the open houses as well as prevention programs like the Vacant Home Check Program to try to curb those rates.
The RCMP says the average response time in a rural location is about 20 minutes from 911 call to officers on the scene. About 20 percent of the time mounties were reaching the scene in about 10 minutes. Calls where personal safety is at risk are number one priority for police. Buchanan says he’s often asked in the open houses what his response to a robbery would be.
“People say ‘Well, what would you do?’ I would do what I felt was necessary to protect my kids and myself. As far as property goes and they need to take something and then go away, I would rather that than inflict harm on someone else.”
The MD says more rural crime forums will be announced for different locations in the future.