Crime Prevention – What We Do
The Community Policing Office is a crime prevention office located in downtown Merritt at 2026 Granite Ave (Spirit Square). The CPO works with community partners to identify the root causes of crime and through education and awareness, strives to prevent and reduce crime in the community.
The Community Policing Office is a joint effort between the City of Merritt and the RCMP but it is not another RCMP detachment office. Rather the purpose of community policing is to encourage the community to become involved in crime prevention and crime reduction programs. If you are interested in volunteering for any of our programs, including working at the Community Policing Office, applications can be picked up at the CPO. Unless it is a youth-focused program, volunteers must be 19 years of age, a resident of BC, and consent to an RCMP criminal records check.
The office is run by Community Policing Coordinator Marlene Jones in conjunction with RCMP Constable Steven Bains. They work with the community to formulate effective programs that make our community safer!
Programs We Offer
NOTE: All Community Policing volunteer programs are currently on hold and the CPO office is closed to the public.
Auto crime is a persistent threat in BC. You can help to reduce these opportunities for thieves by identifying the risks and protecting against them. Be aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activity.
Click here for public access to CPIC, where the public can search for property or motor vehicles that have been reported stolen. If your search results in a negative report and you are still faced with suspicions, we encourage you to drop into your local detachment to speak to someone. It’s important to remember that, even though we encourage reporting, not all stolen items are reported in a timely manner.
What you can do:
• Never leave your keys unguarded, such as at the gym or at the office.
• Park in secure, well-lit areas
• Always lock your vehicle
• Remove valuables from your vehicle or at least out of sight
• Keep your garage door opener out of sight
• Use an electronic engine immobilizer or steering wheel lock
• Don’t store a spare key in your vehicle
According to BC Policing reports the most popular items taken from vehicles are:
- Personal electronics – tables, laptops, iPods, GPS
- Work tools
- Credit Cards and identification
- Stereo equipment
- Cash and change
- Car parts and accessories
- Garage door openers
The Community Policing Office is partnered with ICBC through community based programs such as Lock Out Auto Crime and the Stolen Auto Recovery program.
Along with the comfort of knowing you have done what you can to prevent auto theft ICBC also offers discounts or rebates.
Click here to find out more.
Bike use is increasing in Merritt and along with that comes an increase in opportunity for theft. We encourage all bike owners to register their bikes with the 529 Garage App as part of their theft prevention measures. This not only helps to prevent theft but, in the case where a theft does occur this registration helps you to identify your bike. It also increases the likelihood that you will get it returned.
If your bike is stolen, your first step should be to report it to the RCMP at 250-378-4262. If you locate a bike and don’t know who owns it we ask that you contact Bylaw Services at 250-378-8628.
Here are some other things to consider when trying to prevent theft
- Invest in quality “D” or “U” locks that physically lock at both ends. Avoid cable locks as a good set of bolt cutters will take only seconds to cut through.
- Always keep your bike in a public space, never leave it unlocked even if you’re only away for a couple minutes, and never leave your bike parked outside overnight.
- When locking your bike, secure it to something immovable and preferably metal. Bike thieves will not hesitate to cut through an object if it is weaker than your lock.
To register your bike on the 529 Garage App click here, or bring it to the Community Policing Office and someone can do that with you.
Click here to learn about Garage 529 with VPD and the RCMP
Be safe on the road when you’re cycling with these simple tips from ICBC and the RCMP:
- Reflect on safety. Be extra visible with reflective gear on your bicycle pedals and wheels.
- Don’t ride on the sidewalk. If there’s no bike lane, keep to the right-hand side of the road as much as it’s safe to do so. It’s illegal to ride on most sidewalks and crosswalks.
- Follow the rules of the road. Make sure you obey all traffic signs and signals and adhere to the rules of the road.
- Use caution around parked vehicles. Be aware of people in vehicles as well as taxis to avoid getting hit by an opening door. Try to keep at least once metre away from parked vehicles.
- Shoulder check. Use hand signals and shoulder check in advance before taking any turns. Remember, drivers sometimes fail to yield right-of-way.
- Protect yourself before cycling. Always wear an approved bicycle helmet that meets safety standards (CSA, ANSI, ASTM or SNELL B-95) and occasionally check for signs of wear. Wearing a helmet is the law in B.C. and you could be fined for not wearing one.
In June each year the Community Policing Office volunteer team partners with schools and other organizations to help teach bike handling and safety tips at locally organized bike rodeos. If you would like more information before then please contact our office or go online to Can Bike.
The Community Policing Office also has free safety packages available for those using motorized mobility vehicles.
Motorized Mobility Vehicle Safety Tips
The Block Watch Program was started in BC in 1986, and has been active in Merritt since 2007. This program builds safer neighborhoods by encouraging residents to take a proactive approach to crime prevention and safety through education. It also encourages property marking and reporting suspicious activity. Presently there are 12 Block Watch groups in Merritt and we welcome anyone who is interested in being a part of this program to contact the Community Policing Office.
We believe that the Block Watch Program:
• Fights the isolation and separation that crime creates and feeds upon,
• Forges bonds among area residents and businesses,
• Helps reduce burglaries and other crime,
• and improves relations between the police and the community they serve
In 2019, a new volunteer coordinator joined our team to help grow this program in Merritt. Gayle works at the CPO on Thursdays between 10am – 2pm and is available for any questions that you have about starting a Block Watch or helping your Block Watch be more effective. Gayle is also available via email: email@example.com
For more information click here.
Preventing crime in your business can involve many topics. The City of Merritt Community Policing Office is presently gathering interest from local businesses about forming a Business Watch group. This group will help to increase communication between business owners, crime prevention services, and the local detachment so that we can all work together for a safer community. If you are a business owner and would like to be a part of this please reach out to the CPO at 250-378-3955 to ensure you are part of the initial business list who want to work together for a community lead approach to preventing business crime.
What is the Child Identification Kit?
The Child Identification Kit is a small identity passport containing a child’s photograph, fingerprint, blood type, and hair DNA sample. This identity passport is kept safely by the child’s parent(s) and/or guardian(s).
How They Work?
An ink strip is provided for the child’s fingerprints to be taken, then placed in the special location inside the card. A strand of hair pulled from the root to get the DNA should be placed in the clear bag included in the kit. A current photograph on an annual basis will help keep the information up-to-date. Your child’s birthday is an easily remembered date to do this. Then seal the kit and keep it in a secure but readily accessible location. Should the information ever be needed, the kit will save valuable time.
If you need more information on keeping children safe and what is happening in Canada click here.
The Merritt Citizens on Patrol program encourages dedicated community volunteers to be of assistance to the Police by patrolling designated areas to observe any possible criminal activity. By being an extra set of “eyes and ears” the patrol is able to assist in the deterrence of crime. The patrol is not designed to replace police but allows the police to be able to direct their focus to other areas of potential crime.
Along with regular patrols this group meets for monthly scheduling meetings and several social club events throughout the year. If community members are interested in volunteering for this program, applications can be picked up at the Community Policing Office.
A foot patrol is a trained group of volunteers organized to increase the safety and livability of the neighborhood. They walk neighborhood streets, parks, or schools to deter crime and report incidents and problems. Foot Patrol members are actively and directly involved in solving problems in a community-based, non-confrontational manner. The Foot Patrol program is a function of the Community Policing Office and the R.C.M.P. and they adhere to the same policies as the Citizens on Patrol program. Foot Patrolling is flexible and requires a minimal commitment. If you are looking to volunteer, but have little time to give, then Foot Patrolling could be for you!
In addition to having community patrols on foot, Merritt also has several bike patrols that are active during weekdays. It’s a great way to be an active part of our community safety.
The role of the Office Volunteer is to support the Community Policing Coordinator in the office on a casual basis. Volunteering in the Community Policing Office is flexible and can work with your schedule. Some of the duties of the Office Volunteer include: answering the phone and providing service at the front counter, supplying application forms for various programs, providing educational materials and resources to the public and creating awareness about crime prevention. Some of these resources include an engraving kit, graffiti removel kits or infomation and documentation on frauds, scams, and identity theft. If you have administrative experience, like working with the public and have a passion for crime prevention, the Community Policing Office wants you!
Competition Bureau of Canada – The little Black Book of Scams
Bank of Canada – counterfeit prevention
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre – recent fraud activities
Want to search photos online? – Click here for a video to show you how.
Fraud is the #1 crime again seniors. The reasons seniors are often targeted include: Seniors often live alone, seniors may have more savings, and seniors are often more trusting than younger people.
There are many things you can do to help protect yourself and your family. We encourage you to have a look at these resources and if you have any other questions please drop in to the Community Policing Office to speak to staff or a volunteer.
Speed Watch is an educational program aimed at reducing incidents of speeding. It is designed to raise public awareness of the actual speeds drivers are traveling. The Speed Watch program is conducted in partnership with the police, citizen volunteers and ICBC.
Speed Watch checks are conducted by volunteers trained by police or qualified operators. Using portable radar equipment and an electronic digital board, volunteers monitor speeds in neighbourhoods, school and playground zones, particularly near identified high risk or crash locations. Drivers get an instant readout of their vehicle travel speed, displayed on a reader board as they pass by. Speed Watch Activity reports are provided monthly to ICBC where a province-wide database is maintained. In addition volunteers may also monitor for seatbelt infractions and distracted driving.
Volunteers will record speed and other infractions on an Operations Report form, for the collection and tracking of statistics in the areas monitored. Groups, such as police agencies, municipalities, school districts, ICBC and the local media use the information from this form.
Speed Watch helps address traffic and speeding problems through:
- Public and community awareness
- Neighbourhood action by gathering speed-related date and creating police awareness.
Smart Step is a youth-led program that develops and delivers activities, series and opportunities for the youth of Merritt to become active participants in their community through well-rounded involvement in sport, cultural and community events throughout the summer. With support from the Canada Summer Jobs program, a Youth Director is hired and works from the Community Policing Office under the supervision of the staff, to lead other youth through their program.
Photo: The Smart Step Youth Association cleaning up graffiti on a local bridge.
Crime Stoppers Merritt & Nicola Valley
The Community Policing Office DOES NOT take Crime Stoppers tips and DOES NOT have any direct involvement in reported tips. If you would like to report a crime or follow up on a crime that you previously reported, please call 1-800-222-8477 or submit a web tip. We acknowledge and thank Kamloops Crime Stoppers for the support they provide our society which allows for tip followup and web tip abilities.