Opinion

Call RCMP, no matter what the crime

If there’s a crime, take the time and call police. Otherwise, they’ll never know.

A joint project between local businesses and community policing is asking anyone who sees anything to least tell police about it, even if they think it won’t result in a patrol car cruising by immediately.

Because unless a report is made, it won’t be recorded. Even if a car isn’t dispatched, police still make note of the report.

For instance, if 12 windows are broken and no one reports any of them, there just won’t be a record in police files, says Ineke Boekhorst, with the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association.

Last year, several businesses had their windows silently removed, goods stolen, then had their windows replaced again. This was done gradually, each night, removing pieces of the window moulding, until one night the window could be taken out all at once.

But no one noticed, said Boekhorst.

So business owners should always check out their premises, she added.

If lots of calls come in from a certain area, that will raise the attention of police and help create a better profile of crime in their area. The fewer the number of reports, the lower the priority.

“So it’s very important that people report any kind of criminal activity.”

“It’s a positive way of being pro-active,” Boekhorst added. “There are little things you can do. It’s pretty simple.”

Even  lesser crimes, such as mischief, graffiti, bullying, suspicious vehicle or suspicious persons in the neighborhood should be reported.

As part of the campaign, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows community policing, the RCMP along with the BIA, have launched an awareness campaign featuring a stop sign: We Can’t Help, If You Won’t Report It.

Short publicity items also will be featured. RCMP have also issued a few tips about calling 911:

• you can dial 911 directly from home, but may have to dial 9 to get an outside line if you’re calling from a business;

• a 911 call is free if dialing from a pay phone;

• know the exact location of the event when calling 911;

• for TTY access (for the deaf) press space bar announcer key repeatedly until response is received;

• for non-English speakers, stay on the line while 911 operator contacts Telephone Translation Service;

• E-Comm has no ability to accept test messages;

• Ensure your house numbers are visible from the street.

Maple Ridge Community Policing has become increasingly aware of the public’s feelings regarding whether or not to report certain criminal activities and felt an explanation of the police’s actions may be helpful.

“It must be realized that all calls to the police have to be prioritized to enable the most effective use of resources. Crime must be reported if action is to be expected.”

Watch for the stop sign symbol in many prominent places over the next few weeks.

“We hope this awareness campaign will assist in making the public recognize the importance of reporting criminal activity.”

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