If you put a police officer on every street corner, you won’t have crime on that intersection. That’s the theory behind the RCMP’s Upper Fraser Valley Strategic Plan, Superintendent Keith Robinson said.
He has been explaining the latest plan to all the councils in the area. On Monday night, he spoke to Hope’s council and next he’ll be in Harrison Hot Springs.
There are three directives in the 2011-2013 plan, he told The Observer. They are to create safer communities, optimize RCMP resources and support RCMP staff and members.
Creating safer communities is his number one goal, he added. And one of the easiest ways to get there is to increase visibility. Putting more police officers in plain view, having them walk around and park in visible locations, will automatically increase the feeling of safety in any community, he said. As an extra benefit, the same strategy also works to discourage potential criminals.
“When we put police on the streets, they are getting involved in what’s going on,” he said.
The plan means showing members how they can slightly alter what they’re already doing to be more in the public eye.
“As soon as you do that, you have a good feeling from the public, that they’re feeling safe,” he said.
The RCMP release a three year strategic plan each year, as a way to keep on track of the most important issues. The most recent plan took into account many consultations with community members, including municipalities, First Nations groups and organizational leaders. They also conducted an on-line survey in February, collected anonymously.
Overall, Upper Fraser Valley residents are happy with the level of policing they are receiving, according to the report. Eight per cent of those who completed the survey expressed dissatisfaction with the RCMP. The three most common suggestions for improvement were to have a greater community presence, to work more closely with community groups, and to deal with the sale of illegal drugs.
That survey information was then used during a planning retreat held this spring that led to the framework for the updated strategy.
The Upper Fraser Valley regional detachment encompasses Hope, Agassiz, Chilliwack and Boston Bar, and all the smaller communities within that area. As superintendent, Robinson keeps the districts and municipalities informed of police strategies and plans. It’s important for each individual community to be on board with any changes in direction, as small as they may be, he said.
“If people don’t buy into it, it’s an effort in paper,” he said.