The Agassiz RCMP detachment is seeking the public’s help with two of their volunteer programs.
Volunteers are needed for both the Speed Watch and Popkum, Agassiz, Harrison Watch Patrol (PAH Patrol) programs.
Sgt. Rennie of the Agassiz RCMP explained that the Speed Watch program is looking for community members to work with ICBC as well as the RCMP by operating radar boards in high collision areas and school zones.
“Stats have shown that having the volunteers out there with the radar boards slows people down and actually help reduce collisions,” he said.
With the beginning of the new school year just around the corner, the Speed Watch program will start by targeting school zones, specifically the one by Harrison Hot Springs Elementary on Hot Springs Road.
The program will also have volunteers monitoring high collision areas, including Highway 9 and the Lougheed Highway in the Mount Woodside area.
The PAH Patrol program is in need of volunteers that are willing to patrol the communities of Popkum, Agassiz and Harrison and report any suspicious activity to the RCMP.
“We give them a portable radio and they cruise around in an unmarked car and if they see anything suspicious, they can report it or they can call the members on the radio and let them know what they’re seeing,” Sgt. Rennie said.
The program couldn’t come at a better time for the Agassiz RCMP, especially with the recent spike in property crime rates.
“Our property crimes stats are through the roof and we need some eyes and ears out there,” Sgt. Rennie said.
This most recent quarter, which was from April to June of this year, saw 26 property crimes in Agassiz and 11 in Harrison Hot Springs. The high amount is part of a trend of increased property crimes that began in late 2015.
“[Property crimes] are high throughout the Lower Mainland and we’re not immune to it,” Sgt. Rennie said. “We’re feeling the effects, maybe not as much as Abbotsford or Chilliwack, but we definitely see some spill over coming from those communities. Criminals are now multi-jurisdictional; they’re crossing boundaries and going from one community to another to commit their crime.”
While both of these programs are not new initiatives for the Agassiz RCMP, Sgt. Rennie is hoping to revive them and gain more interest from the public.
“What I’m finding is that I haven’t had a lot of volunteers in the past in these communities, and that trend is still happening,” he said. “I’d love to see these programs get up and running, because when you only have two members working on any given shift, you can’t be everywhere at all times.”
Anyone interested in volunteering in the Speed Watch or PAH Patrol programs is encouraged to start by completing a police information check sheet, available at the Agassiz RCMP office located at 6869 Lougheed Highway.