Conklin Residents Express Policing Concerns, RCMP Looking to Start Rural Watch Program

Residents in Conklin had a chance to share concerns about policing directly to Wood Buffalo RCMP.

A Town Hall meeting was held in the community on Thursday where dozens of residents were on hand voicing their frustration.

Long wait times, little time crews spend in the community, and the lack of veteran police officers were just a couple of the concerns that were brought up.

Verna Quintal-Janvier tells Mix News many are scared for their safety.

“A lot of calls are made, the response time is not the greatest… they do respond but it takes time and that doesn’t always work in our favor.”

She added the Mounties barely have a presence in the community.

Conklin residents at the hamlet’s rural policing town hall // Jaryn Vecchio – Harvard Broadcasting

During the meeting, multiple residents claimed officers will do a quick drive around a couple of times a day before they leave.

“When cruisers come in at a certain time of the day and then they’re gone, well people know they’re not going to be around for a while,” added Quintal-Janvier.

Right now, crews – which usually consist of a leader and three additional officers – are in charge of overseeing Conklin in Janvier.

Rural Crime Watch

According to data shared by RCMP at the meeting, the number of crimes was slightly up in 2019.

Last year, there were 170 offenses which is up from the 164 that was averaged in the previous three years.

To help combat this, the Mounties are looking at setting up a rural crime watch program.

Staff Sergeant Tyler Codling says criminals are more concerned with these programs than any other deterrents.

“They had relayed back to us that they’re less concerned about alarm systems or video surveillance or even police officers than they are about crime watch because they can’t track where crime watch is and who’s observing at any given time.”

The RCMP has been trying to get this program up and running for the past 18 months. However, several residents at the Town Hall stated they feared for their safety joining this group.

Meanwhile, the police are planning to meet with people to learn more about specific issues related to certain residents rather than broad concerns.

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