Warman Neighbourhood Watch (WNW) volunteers have learned a lot in the four years since the organization started in 2014.
And they’re putting that knowledge and experience to work on a daily – and nightly – basis.
WNW co-founder Marshall Seed told a public meeting in Warman on Thursday, March 8 that while the group has grown and its organizational structure and methods have evolved, the overall mission remains the same.
“Our goal is to make Warman a safer community, for everyone, especially our children,” said Seed. “We’re not trying to be the police. We simply want to deter criminals and prevent crime.”
Seed said while WNW volunteers do regular patrols throughout the community, they leave law enforcement to the RCMP and bylaw officers.
Volunteers will, however, take steps to prevent property theft and vandalism.
“We make ourselves very visible,” said Seed. “We try and educate people. Anytime we have contact with any citizen, we always present a Neighbourhood Watch card to them and provide a phone number for our organization and also the contact information for the RCMP detachment.”
Seed said it’s not uncommon for WNW volunteers to put on 50 to 80 kilometers per night on patrols.
“You’d be surprised how much territory we cover and what we see during the patrols,” said Seed.
He said because the goal is to prevent thefts, WNW volunteers will knock on a homeowner’s door if they notice a garage door is left open.
“In all the years we’ve been doing this, we’ve never had anyone get upset that we’ve alerted them their garage door has been left open,” said Seed. “They’re always very thankful.”
Warman City Councillor Trevor Peterson, a member of the city’s Protective Services Committee, said the WNW is one of the strongest neighbourhood watch programs in the province.
“This group is a real source of pride for our community,” said Peterson. “When I was at the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association convention recently, a lot of councillors from other towns and cities asked about our neighbourhood watch group, and wanted to know if they could get help setting up a similar organization in their community. This group is always willing to help others.”
Seed noted the WNW has had discussions with other communities, including Langham, Osler, Rosthern, Delisle, Vonda, Martensville and Prince Albert, on establishing neighbourhood watch groups.
“One of the success stories is the rejuvenation of a Neighbourhood Watch group in Prince Albert,’ said Seed. “We donated some stuff to them, and their group has been making a difference.
“It’s awesome to see communities banding together to provide the police with an extra set of eyes and ears. The information provided to the police can really help in their investigations.”
The WNW reports monthly to Warman City Council, and also has a regular liaison with the local RCMP.
RCMP Corporal Erin Charabin told the meeting the police do their best, but their resources are limited and their geographic area is large.
“We’re doing the best we can,” said Charabin. “While we respond to all calls, we do have to prioritize them.
“Having the neighbourhood watch active in the community helps us immensely. The reports from this group make a positive difference in our investigations.”
Seed said the WNW encourages residents to get to know their neighbours and to establish lines of communication within neighbourhoods. The information can be critical during emergency situations.
“Do you know the first name of at least five different neighbours?” said Seed. “Would you be able to tell police the address of the house behind you in the event of a break-in? Could you tell the fire department the address of a house in your neighbourhood that’s on fire?”
Seed encouraged residents to get involved in the WNW by calling 306-371-5327 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .