Carbon residents concerned over uptick in crime

Carbon COP

The Village of Carbon, like many communities, has become frustrated with all the thefts and were motivated to hold a public information meeting Thursday evening, October 5, at the hall. Over 50 people were in attendance, along with two RCMP members of Drumheller, organizers that have started the process of forming a Citizens on Patrol group, the Mayor, and a recent victim. Those in attendance heard from the rural citizen of his frustration at seeing his truck being stolen and his ill-fated attempt to chase down the thieves. He admitted his decision to follow the thieves seemed in the heat of the moment like the only choice available and was made unhesitatingly, with reckless regard for his safety, and without proper attire, or means of communication. It was a folly for Mr. Clow, that ended with the culprits backing up and ramming the vehicle he was driving.

It was at Mr. Dan Clow’s behest that the Village of Carbon host a “structured, efficient, focused meeting with the community, inviting RCMP, COP, Security experts and anyone else in a position of significance to help better prepare us as a community for any further events. Only together, banding arms, can we stand tall against what is happening; people do not have to feel alone and I believe it starts right here.”

In an open letter on facebook, to publicly announce the meeting to the citizens in and around Carbon, Mr. Dan Clow writes, “I am here tonight as a result of the recent events that have plagued our community. Small towns have always been subject to the occasional mischief due to our remote location and the likelihood of any criminals being able to elude the authorities. But something has changed, it has become more frequent and the limits to which they are willing to go are being further stretched with every incident. They are spending time in and around our community gathering information and scoping out potential targets.”

The frustration of seeing few repercussions for these acts and Mr. Clow’s own alarming reaction as a victim, makes him fearful for the escalation of crime and potential for citizens being hurt in their attempt to get in the way of these criminals. “I felt I had no options.”

It was noted that Citizens on Patrol, though not fully sanctioned yet, had 25 citizens sign up and that RCMP was trying to push through the applications for background checks. About five have had their checks finished. As regular citizens, about a dozen have been out patrolling through the night. People were invited to sign up even if they only had an hour to give. The process was explained.

Said, Mayor Gus Nash, “They (criminals) are well organized and they’re not going away.”

The RCMP remarked that farmers are noted for being the worst at not phoning police. “They don’t want to bother us, but this is what we do; this is our job. Please bother us.” He left his business cards, remarking that for knives, guns, bleeding or fire, call 911 and they will dispatch the appropriate emergency services. For suspicious behaviour call the police line.

He reaffirmed that though he would never promote chasing down the perpetrators of a crime, if possible, while staying out of harms way, do write down a direction of travel, descriptions, plate numbers, and time. Should the suspicious activity in your mind, not warrant a call to police, writing the information down and giving it to Citizens on Patrol may come in handy if a crime has or may be taking place. They spoke of being hopeful to obtain new radios, perhaps in May 2018 that can’t be picked up by scanners, advising that sometimes it is the bad guys listening in to ascertain where the police are.

Motion sensitive cameras were also recommended, with RCMP noting that with privacy laws, a camera should not face, even by accident, into a neighbouring yard. “They have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Another idea that was brought into the open by Mr. Clow was for group texts, a fanout communication to directly warn others (especially rural citizens) that suspicious activity has been noted. It was thought that most everyone seems to have their cell phone handy enough that a group warning text could work as a ‘heads up’.

It was mentioned at the meeting and repeated later by Mr. Clow that this “was not a meeting to push anyone to join organizations or make anyone feel pressured.” The meeting, he felt, succeeded in its attempt “to educate, inform, focus, organize and network our friends and neighbours both in the valley and rural community. People in the community do not have to feel they are doing this alone.”