Downtown Maple Ridge residents watching for crime

Apartments encouraged to join housing program, Block Watch underway

  • Nov. 16, 2016 1:00 p.m.
Residents trying to clean up part of downtown.

Residents trying to clean up part of downtown.

Residents are riled up about messy empty lots, used needles and petty crime along 222nd Street.

A neighbourhood Block Watch group is being organized for the area between Lougheed Highway and Dewdney Trunk Road.

Apartment block managers are being encouraged to join the Crime Free Multi Housing program, which tries to discourage criminal activity.

And the city is being pressured to get an empty lot on the street fenced off.

“We are winning our battle right now. We have formed a neighbourhood Block Watch,” said Frank Dagg.

He added that 11 of 16 apartment managers in the area are working together and that he would like to get all buildings participating in the Crime Free Multi Housing program.

“We’re trying to get better lighting on our street.”

Dagg said the group has collected 150 used needles, and a seminar on Crime Free Multi Housing is being planned.

So far, however, only two apartment blocks on the street are participating in the latter program.

Dagg also wants to organize Block Watch observation patrols and to get Dave Walsh, downtown community liaison bylaw officer, involved.

“We’re classifying it as a no-risk, observation walk,” said Dagg.

Block Watch patrols just observe and report to police any unusual activity.

The key is to not to engage anyone or get into a confrontation, Walsh said.

He would first take a walk with the group, just to give pointers.

Dagg said that in September, a senior was flung into the side of a building after someone on a bicycle rode by and grabbed her purse.

The group is also pushing the city to require the owners to fence off the two empty lots on 222nd Street at 119th Avenue.

“I want it known in this neighbourhood if you do crime … chances are you being watched and the police will be on their way.”

Dagg said he’ll be talking to Maple Ridge council, and another Block Watch meeting takes place on Wednesday.

He added that if needles are going to be given out, Maple Ridge should get a safe-injection site.

Fraser Health is considering opening safe-injection sites for several cities in Metro Vancouver.

Ridge Meadows RCMP say there’s been no increase in downtown crime since the temporary homeless shelter opened on Lougheed Highway at 222nd Street in October 2015, although there are more incidents of misbehaviour.