Midtown Neighborhood Watch gathering steam

By Glenn Hicks
August 30, 2017 - 8:00am

The fledgling Neighborhood Watch in Prince Albert’s Midtown is getting set to to combat the surge in petty crime in the area, including regular formal night patrols.

President of the group, Peter John said there’ll be a planning session within the next week to discuss a community barbecue. The event planned for the fall will fundraise for equipment and signage, as well as security lighting for back alleys that run adjacent to Central Ave.

He had high hopes more people will join those who’ve voiced their support for a patrol.

“I want to see a very formalized group of trained people with equipment like radios and reflective vests going out on a rotating basis, especially between the hours of 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.,” John said.

He admited that’s a tough time of the night for anyone to volunteer, but he’s already had people approach him to do it.

Informal patrols on weekends and during events such as the Summer Fair were deemed a success.

“Eight of us went out in our cars,” John said. “We had our flashlights with us and just our presence made certain people uncomfortable. We moved along up to twenty people from the alleys."

It has been nine months since John first started talking to the community about a Neighborhood Watch program, but he said it’s important they’ve taken their time to set everything in motion.

“Taking it slowly is important to make sure we get the right kind of people, the right kind of media coverage, and making sure we’re doing it right,” he said.

Donna Bergen is part of the group and is committed to encouraging everyone to be more vigilant in their home, beef up their security, and report anything 

suspicious to police. But she’s not too happy with the term ‘patrol.’

“We need to come up with another word that doesn’t sound so harsh. ‘Patrol’ makes the environment sound horrible and it’s not,” she said.

Bergen, like John and many others in the area, has been a victim of crime but is remaining positive.

“It’s frustrating obviously, but let’s do something about this instead of wallowing in it,” she said. “Communities like Midtown are important to this city. We need to keep neighborhoods like this vibrant and alive where the diverse residents who are here can keep living here."

City councillor Evert Botha, who also lives in Midtown, said he’s delighted with the progress from the group.

“Peter has a lot of ideas and passion…and the board members have a lot of experience. As for the community, the Facebook group is up to about 140 people now,” he said.

“They’ve taken a slow and steady approach and been mature about making the community safer and cleaner. They’ve been providing authorities with actionable and enforceable information.”

 

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