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Saskatchewan RCMP to hold town halls to discuss rural crime concerns

RCMP holding rural Saskatchewan town halls
WATCH ABOVE: Saskatchewan RCMP say upcoming town halls are not in response to the Colten Boushie shooting and acquittal of Gerald Stanley. As Meaghan Craig reports, the force says it wants to outline its rural crime strategies and open up dialogue.

Saskatchewan RCMP are taking yet another step to try and ensure our province’s country side remains safe. A series of town halls will be held to address rural property crime and response times including one on Monday night in Biggar.

Police said it has nothing to do with the Gerald Stanley case and just want to find out concerns from rural residents and how they can work together to improve community safety.

READ MORE: Saskatoon company to develop technologies to help fight rural Saskatchewan crime

For Eunyoung Kim, the town hall with law enforcement couldn’t come at a better time. Her store in Perdue was broken into just three weeks ago and surveillance footage caught the criminals in action.

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“They stole cigarettes, scratch sheets and then they took my cashier drawer, everything.”

In three minutes flat, thieves took off with $1,500 worth of goods. Kim said it was 3:30 a.m. CT and it took the nearby Biggar RCMP detachment one hour to respond to the call and arrive on scene.

“Fifteen minutes, 20 minutes I understand, one hour that’s too long,” Kim said.

She has received no follow-up from the detachment since. Other rural residents say for the RCMP, property crime is not a priority for the force.

“Why can’t they be more present? You know that’s the problem, they’re never there,” town resident Walter Tripp said.

“I’m out in the country – you never seen them.”

Tripp doesn’t blame the Mounties entirely, he understands they’re working with the resources they have but says it’s a shame when you can’t rely on the police to lay charges or respond in a timely fashion.

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“People are getting tired of it.”

READ MORE: Sask. RCMP urge safety, prevention first over frustration about rural crime

A town hall is scheduled for the small Saskatchewan town this Thursday. There will be a meeting held by every detachment in the entire province this year and the public can reach out to police to find out dates and times.

A total of 87 town halls, as instructed by the commanding officer of “F” division, to engage with the public as part of its yearly strategic planning process.

“Building relationships with those we serve is a key part of what we do. Everyone has a role to play in building stronger, safer communities, so we look forward to hearing people’s concerns and ideas,” Saskatchewan RCMP said in a statement.

For rural residents, they might get answers to questions related to response times and property crime that have lingered for far too long.

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According to the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), this might also be the opportunity to discuss the Rural Crime Watch program which has already been adopted by 50 RMs.

“The RM has to have a meeting with the RCMP and get everybody together, the town hall venue might be a good place to start the discussion,” SARM president Ray Orb said.

This week, town halls will also be held in Kelvington, Rosetown, Wadena and Davidson. According to the RCMP, meetings have already been conducted in Loon Lake and Yorkton.