Members of the County of Stettler, along with S/Sgt Bruce Holliday of the Stettler RCMP, held an informal information session on May 10.
Representing the county were director of emergency management Clint Sime, peace officer Kyle Benna and director of communications Niki Thorsteinsson.
The turnout for the event was light, with only three community members attending; however, according to Thorsteinsson the lack of turn out isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it could indicate people don’t see problems in the community.
First to present were Sime and Benna who gave a presentation on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and target hardening.
Theories behind CPTED include keeping shrubs cut down to two-feet or under and tree branches trimmed below six-feet, eliminating places on ones property to hide.
Strategic use of lighting, property access control, signage, the presence of dogs, cameras and sightlines were also discussed.
One of the top tips of the night came from Benna.
“Be careful what you put on social media.”
Benna recounted the story of a friend of a friend who would put literally everything on social media, including holiday plans, something which can open your home to being targeted while you are away.
“CPTED is not a magic solution, it is a tool for you to use to prevent your house from being targeted.”
After Sime and Benna completed their presentation, S/Sgt Holliday took the floor.
Holliday introduced himself to those in attendance as an 18 year member of the RCMP and a third-generation police officer with a strong community policing philosophy.
“I’d have you tell us where the problems are happening,” said Holliday.
“I’d have discussions with people. If I heard a persons name three times, I’d make contact with them, and let them know they could stop, move, or face direct enforcement on their actions.”
Holliday, who has been the commanding officer of the Stettler detachment since the fall of 2021, first reported on crime statistics over the last year.
Generally, statistics are trending in the right direction, according to Holliday, with an overall 1 per cent decrease in reports on the municipal side of the detachment, and a 7 per cent reduction on the provincial (county) side.
After reviewing the statistics, Holliday discussed a community wellness team dubbed the “Circle of Services” that he has helped bring to the community based on a model used in Bashaw. The team brings together agencies such as members of the Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), the Stettler Family Resource Network, the RCMP, and others to help support individuals where a law enforcement response may not be the appropriate one.
Finally, Holliday reviewed the various scams that are working their way through the community at the moment.
Some of the scams that have been reported to the detachment include email phishing scams where people are asked to click on a link due to a problem with their banking information or to collect a prize, or others notifying someone that they have won a prize but they have to send money to claim it.
“Don’t send money to get money, it’s a scam,” said Holliday.
“It’s pretty basic stuff, but people are falling for it everyday. It’s a problem.”
In addition to reporting to the RCMP, Holliday encourages anyone receiving phone or email scams to report them to the Canadian anti-fraud centre, which can be reached at 1-888-495-8501, or online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.