North Battleford, Sask. introduces community safety initiatives to prevent crime

Cst. Harlow-Fossum with Battleford RCMP and the North Battleford City’s Director of Protective Services/Fire Chief, Lindsay Holm standing in front of the Buy & Sell Exchange Zone, located on the south side of the North Battleford Fire Department. Battleford RCMP

Organizations in North Battleford, Sask., are launching community initiatives to deal with local crime.

Three initiatives; the “You Etch. We Catch It” program, the “Safe Internet Exchange Zone” program, and the “9 p.m. Routine” program are being put together through a partnership with the City of North Battleford, Battleford RCMP, North Battleford Fire Department and a number of local businesses.

“Our priority is the safety and security of the people we serve,” Sergeant Adam Buckingham said.

“These community safety initiatives supplement the every day police work that is being done to keep our communities safe. We very much appreciate the partnership with the City, other local emergency services and local businesses on these initiatives. We all play an important role in the safety and wellness of our community and additional measures – programs like we’re introducing – just add another layer of security.”

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The “You Etch. We Catch It” initiative aims to make it harder for thieves to sell catalytic converters from cars by having local businesses engrave the last eight digits of the vehicle’s identification number onto it for free when you get your car serviced.

“Officers, on occasion, have caught suspects with catalytic converters in their possession, however, they were unable to prove the converters were stolen due to a lack of identifying information. This lack of identifying information on the converters also meant the RCMP were unable to return them to their rightful owners,” read an RCMP release.

The release added that this initiative increases the likelihood of these thieves being caught, and that similar programs are in place in Kindersley and Warman.

Saskatchewan RCMP received 174 reports of catalytic convertor thefts so far in 2022, compared to the 135 reports seen in 2021 around the same time.

RCMP said North Battleford accounts for 22 per cent of those reported thefts this year.

The “Safe Internet Exchange Zone” program gives people in the city a designated area to meet if you are buying, selling or trading items online in the Battleford area.

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The North Battleford Fire Department parking lot now has two parking spaces designated for these exchanges, with the release noting that this area is monitored 24/7 by video surveillance.

“We know online buy/sell/swaps are very popular. We want to help the people in our community to stay safe by providing a public, well-monitored area for transactions to occur,” Buckingham said.

“This initiative is another way we’re helping to keep our communities safe when it comes to online exchanges.”

The release gave a list of tips for anyone buying or selling online:

  • Don’t meet alone, if possible bring a friend or a family member or tell someone where you are going
  • If you are unable to meet at the Safe Internet Exchange Zone, please consider completing your transaction in well-lit, public locations
  • Don’t give out personal information such as banking details or your home address
  • Don’t bring large quantities of cash when meeting
  • Be cautious when buying/selling high-value items

The “9 p.m. Routine” program is an initiative to try and make your property less appealing to opportunistic thieves.

It encourages residents to follow a routine to ensure their property is locked up and safe, and lists some steps:

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  • Ensuring your home and vehicle doors and windows are shut and locked – the idea is to do this at a designated time every night to form a habit
  • Securing your sheds and outbuildings
  • Putting away items that could tempt thieves or vandalism, including fuel or large tools
  • Removing spare keys, garage door openers, electronics and other valuables from vehicles
  • Enabling a home security system if you have one

“Anyone can participate in the 9 p.m. Routine by adopting these safety steps into your daily lives, you can better protect yourself, your family and property by doing a few simple things every day,” Buckingham said.

“Doing them at the same time helps to form a habit. Checking those windows, doors, and so on every night should become second nature.”

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