It was an interesting experience attending the recent RCMP Town Halls and speaking to local detachments to discuss the issues that are of concern to residents in their areas.
One revelation from these meetings was that local crimes and domestic violence is going unreported to the RCMP.
For a lot of reasons this is understandable.
Some landowners mentioned their concerns about not seeing much response, or slow response times, when they have called the RCMP after minor crimes on their property. Other times people hesitate to call 911 for fear of reprisal.
This can make people complacent, says Staff Sgt. Adare Guest with the Humboldt-Lanigan RCMP detachments.
The RCMP has a couple of hundred square kilometres to cover per detachment, and responding to calls can be a challenge. It may be one reason people are reluctant to call.
What people may not know is that this challenge is made easier when they actually call and report incidents of all kinds, including property crime, theft and suspicious activity.
Guest says that the public is a great resource to help them solves crime in the area.
“We certainly encourage people to be the eyes and ears out there for us and to help in whatever way you, can by providing information to us if you see things that don’t appear right.”
When an incident is reported, it is investigated, Guest says. In addition, “depending on the type of incident or crime, it helps us to potentially link it up with other occurrences in the area or other things that help us, not with just that particular crime but other crimes as well.”
While these two reasons are the most important, he says, the call volume and severity of crime in the area can also help the detachments decide on staffing.
High rates of domestic violence also exist in Saskatchewan. Some detachments report that this type of crime can be underreported.
Emily Britz, programs manager with Partners Family Services, says that a women is killed by a current or former partner every four months in Saskatchewan.
Britz encourages people to call 911 or the RCMP when they hear or see suspicious behaviour.
“Many victims of domestic violence may not be able to make that phone call themselves, for many reasons, whether it is fear or intimidation by the perpetrator, isolation, no access to a phone or not being physically able to get to a phone,” said Britz in an email.
Fear of addressing the situation can keep people from intervening, which is understandable, said Britz.
“Our local RCMP are great about responding to calls to ensure individual or family safety, even when it turns out it wasn’t what the caller initially thought. We have 911 dispatch and RCMP because it’s not necessarily safe for the general public to try to attempt to asses these dangerous situations,” says Britz.
When it comes to when to call. Britz said to go with your instincts.
For Guest, the quicker they are called, the quicker they can go and investigate the situation so he urges everyone to make those call.