Four years after its founding, the Warman Neighbourhood Watch (WNW) organization is making a positive difference in the community,.
But there’s still plenty of work to do when it comes to preventing crime, particularly property damage, theft and vandalism, according to Marshall Seed, a co-founder of the group.
In an interview on Wednesday, August 30, Seed said there has been a spate of incidents involving “street racing and stunting” on residential streets, and vandalism and arson in some mall parking lots. Seed and WNW co-founder Mark Stiglitz also outlined several major areas of concern at a Warman City Council committee of the whole meeting on August 21.
“We’ve seen a lot of problems these last few weeks with young people starting fires in parking lots, hanging out and harassing people, climbing fire escapes and lamp posts, and stunting with cars,” said Seed. “One kid even impacted a building with his truck and caused over $20,000 in damage.”
Seed said the organization has been compiling hard evidence and has passed on the information it has collected to the RCMP. Continue reading “Neighbourhood Watch program making mark, says Seed”→
Warman Neighbourhood Watch (WNW) officials are warning people to be wary of a self-styled vigilante organization known as ‘Canadian Predator Hunters.’
WNW co-founder Marshall Seed said he has “serious concerns” about the methods used by the Canadian Predator Hunters, a group which posts online videos that claim to expose child predators.
“There has been some social media activity in and around Warman with regards to a specific person who is the figurehead of Canadian Predator Hunters,” said Seed in an interview on Thursday, April 27. “This individual is apparently focusing on Martensville, Warman, Osler and other smaller centres in this area.”
Seed said that several alleged confrontation videos were posted by Canadian Predator Hunters on social media within a three day span recently. The videos targeted two people from Warman and one person from Martensville.
Seed said several people who saw the online videos contacted him and asked if WNW wanted to share the videos on the WNW Facebook site.
“I said absolutely not,” said Seed. “I was very adamant. Warman Neighbourhood Watch is not a vigilante group.”
Seed, a father of three himself, said he understands why many people may be lulled into supporting Canadian Predator Hunters and other so-called ‘creep catcher’ vigilante groups.
“Speaking for myself, I believe their ultimate objective, as far as trying to stop people from committing a severe crime, is something everyone agrees with,” said Seed. “But their methods and practices are very questionable.
“Just because someone is targeted and confronted in an online video doesn’t mean they’re automatically guilty,” he added. “Innocent people may be unfairly targeted, and in our society, everyone has the right to a fair trial. You are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”
Seed said the vigilante group’s methods are a form of “entrapment” and have been discredited.
Seed said he’s also concerned that a member of the public, after viewing the videos online, could decide to take the law into their own hands and do harm to the individual who is targeted in the video.
“At the end of the day, we have to let the justice system operate,” he said.
Seed said the RCMP also has serious concerns about this type of vigilante organization. There are many instances, he noted, where these groups have actually hampered police investigations by withholding evidence.
“What people see in the videos is the end result of a series of electronic communications between the person who is targeted and the vigilante,” said Seed. “The online video shows the effect, but not the cause.
“It’s my understanding, in talking about this issue with RCMP officers, that these vigilantes often refuse to turn over their cell phones to the police. These cell phones contain crucial evidence in the form of text messages that the police need to properly investigate the allegations.”
Seed said solid evidence is needed in any investigation of alleged child sexual exploitation, He said there was an incident where an allegation was posted on social media of a man attempting to lure children in Warman. After WNW contacted police and an investigation initiated, the children later admitted to fabricating the story.
“An innocent person who may have matched the description given by the kids could have found themselves in a very bad situation through no fault of their own,” said Seed. “The kids learned their lesson when it was explained to them. But that’s one reason why we need to let the justice system work.”