Community Policing

MONTHLY FOCUS
PROGRAMS WE OFFER
USEFUL LINKS
CRIME STOPPERS

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 David Feller. They work with the community to formulate effective programs that make our community safer!

Contact

Community Policing Office

Address: 2026 Granite Avenue

phone: 250-378-3955
email: cpo@merritt.ca

Monthly Focus

Pedestrian Safety

As the weather changes and daylight hours decrease, pedestrians become more vulnerable.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of all crashes with pedestrians happen between October and January. Even when drivers proceed with caution, it’s hard to see pedestrians when visibility is poor.

In B.C., 78 per cent of crashes involving pedestrians happen at intersections. Whether it’s taking a break from your phone or yielding the right-of-way, we all need to do our part to keep pedestrians safe.

Tips for drivers

  • Focus on the road. Always leave your phone alone while driving.
  • Be ready to yield to pedestrians, especially when turning at intersections and near transit stops.
  • If a vehicle is stopped in front of you or in the lane next to you, they may be yielding for a pedestrian.
  • Expect the unexpected, even mid-block, as pedestrians may be jaywalking.

Tips for safe walking

  • Be careful at intersections. Watch for drivers turning left or right through the crosswalk. Drivers may be focused on oncoming traffic and not see you.
  • Don’t jaywalk – always use crosswalks and follow the pedestrian signs and traffic signals.
  • Make eye contact with drivers, as it’s hard to see pedestrians when visibility is poor in fall and winter. Never assume that a driver has seen you.
  • Remove your headphones and take a break from your phone while crossing the road.
  • Be as reflective as possible to make it easier for drivers to see you in wet weather, at dusk and at night.

Source – ICBC Roadsafety

Halloween Safety – During a pandemic

The BC Centre for Disease Control has published their suggestions on how to make Halloween fun for the kids and as safe as possible.  Along with our Crime Prevention Safety tips we hope that your family can have fun while you celebrate less socially and trick-or-treat locally.

First of all – we remind homeowners to turn off their porch light and stay inside if you are not taking part in the event.  This decision can be for any reason but please make it clear to the kids if you can not accept visitors this year.

  • If you do intend to give out candy, we hope that you can be creative.  Use tongs, make a candy slide, or provide space while handing out the candy.  High touch areas can be avoided if you are sitting on your porch rather than having the kids ring the doorbell.   If this is not possible don’t forget to clean those surfaces regularly.
  • Masks can be included in any costume this year but may also be a good idea if you are the one intending to hand out the candy.
  • Make sure that the costumes don’t cause a tripping hazard.
  • Keep it local in your neighbourhood and in small groups.  This is a concern for visibility so please make sure that the kids are visible / reflective and following the rules when near the road.
  • If the weather allows, outside activities are encouraged.  Some ideas include a socially distanced pumpkin carving event, show off your costume to your friends and family online, arrange a Halloween scavenger hunt for the little ones in your home (ideas online), find a scary movie that your family can enjoy watching together, or arrange a tour with your family to check out the decorated homes in your community.
  • Wash your hands regularly but Be Careful with hand sanitizer and open flames. 

Programs We Offer

NOTE: Some Community Policing volunteer programs are currently on hold. The CPO office is open to the public by appointment and as time permits.  If you have a question or would like to make an appointment do not hesitate to contact us via email listed on this site.

Auto Crime Prevention

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:

  • Smartphones
  • Personal electronics – tables, laptops, iPods, GPS
  • Work tools
  • Credit Cards and identification
  • Stereo equipment
  • Cash and change
  • Car parts and accessories
  • Garage door openers
  • Sunglasses
  • Keys

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.
http://www.icbc.com/road-safety/prevent-autocrime/Pages/Insurance-discounts.aspx

Bicycle Education & Theft Prevention

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.

Register your bike or download the app on the 529 Garage website, or bring it to the Community Policing Office and someone can do that with you.

Watch a video 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

Block Watch

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:  blockwatch@merritt.ca

For more information click here.
http://blockwatch.com/

Business Crime Prevention - Business Watch

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.

Helpful Links

Competition Bureau of Canada – The little Black Book of Scams
Bank of Canada – counterfeit prevention 
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre –  recent fraud activities

Child ID

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.
https://www.protectchildren.ca/app/en/

Citizens on Patrol

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.

Foot and Bike Patrols

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.

Office Volunteers

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!

Helpful Links

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.

Seniors Safety

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.

Safety links

BCCPA – Safety tips

Seniors First BC Resources

RCMP – Seniors Guidebook to safety and security

The little black book of scams

Speed Watch

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 Youth Association

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.