Glenn and Heather Sullivan

Glenn and Heather Sullivan

Volunteers take bite out of crime in Hope

Visiting Othello Tunnels a more enjoyable experience for visitors

One vehicle rolls in after another, into the paved parking lot at the Othello Tunnels. Each one is filled with a different sort of visitor. There are families hoping to stretch their legs, couples hoping for some adventure, and tourists discovering local history.

There are motorcycles and motorhomes, tour buses and station wagons. There are dogs and kids and bicycles, too.

As varied as the visitors are, each and every person who arrives at the tunnels is clearly looking for the same thing — a good experience exploring the tunnels just down the pathway.

And so it’s with great pleasure that they all seem to notice the one couple that doesn’t leave the parking lot. They sometimes sit off to the side, enjoying the cool shade by their truck. Other times, they stand at the exit, waving goodbye as their visitors head for their next destination.

They are Glenn and Heather Sullivan, and they are part of a larger team of volunteers who spend their spare time watching the parking lot at Othello. This dedicated group of people is organized through the Hope Crime Prevention Office, and their presence at this parking lot has had an impact, they say.

“This was a hot spot once,” Glenn says. But with the addition of regular patrols, the number of vehicle thefts have gone done significantly, allowing visitors to enjoy their day trip that much more.

Mike Weightman, ICBC’s regional coordinator for road safety, said the program has had “a profound impact on reducing crime.”

“When we first started with the Hope Crime Prevention Office in 2002 or 2003, the break ins (at Othello) were out of this world,” he said. “It seemed like it was under surveillance and the minute someone left their vehicle, it would get hit.”

There were as many as six vehicle break-ins or thefts each day at that time.

But last year, the RCMP had three reported cases all summer.

“We’re very proud of that,” said Geoff Hodgkinson, coordinator of the Othello Tunnel volunteers. There are about a dozen who patrol the area, taking turns at times that they chose.

It’s never the same time, so there is no pattern that thieves could learn.

“We just go our own times, and the bad guys don’t know when we’re there,” he said. And to keep the volunteers safe, and be even more effective, they are armed with police radios and constant RCMP backup.

“We are the eyes and the ears for the police out there,” Hodgkinson said.

The patrol is funded by ICBC, through equipment that volunteers can use.

ICBC has also erected signs in the area reminding people to lock up their valuables.

There are people visiting from all over the world, Weightman said, and for a long time those world-traveled guests were getting a very bad impression of Hope, B.C. and Canada.

Thanks to the volunteers with Hope Crime Prevention, that first impression has gotten a lot better.

“It’s amazing,” Weightman said. “It’s really worked well.”

Besides being a watchful eye on the parking lot, the Sullivans and the rest of the volunteers keep track of the numbers of visitors, and place little reminders on the windshield of vehicles that resemble parking tickets.

Hope Crime Prevention could always use more volunteers for the many activities they help with, from the Othello Tunnels watch, to Brigade Days and even the Harrison Dragonboat Festival.

For more information, phone 604-869-5900.

news@ahobserver.com

 

Just Posted

A Milbert’s tortoiseshell rests on a flower. Nature Chilliwack says butterfly gardens for every stage of life are possible using plants native to the area. (Photo/Nature Chilliwack)
Nature Chilliwack offers butterfly garden tips

Gardens can be created using local plants, the nature club says

(Photo/Mary-Jean Coyle)
Community Camera for June 11, 2021

Submit your photos to news@ahobserver.com

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

(Adam Louis/Observer)
PHOTOS: Students leap into action in track events at Kent Elementary

At Kent Elementary, when the sun’s outside, the fun’s outside. The intermediate… Continue reading

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read