A Block Watch program is gaining momentum quickly in Crofton as a way to help combat a significant recent crime spree in the town.
A meeting organized on short notice last week at the Crofton Community Centre with Carol-Ann Rolls of Cowichan Community Policing attracted 19 people and immediately resulted in the addition of more Block Watches in the community.
The active Block Watches were on Brook Street, Collinson Place (with part of Adelaide Street and Hayhurst Crescent) and York Avenue. Following the meeting, three volunteers stepped up for East Tatlo Road, Robert Street and Tidemark Way.
“Ideally, there are two volunteers, captain and co-captain for the block,” Rolls indicated. “Those volunteers decide how long the Block will be. It may not be the full street so additional volunteers are needed to help make Crofton safer block by block. It’s not a time consuming job and Block Watch really does make a difference.”
Dan Robin, the meeting organizer, is also the Block Watch captain for Tidemark Way and going through the process to make that official with a criminal record check and a training session.
“There was a heightened sense of urgency for this thing to happen,” said Robin.
The meeting, he added, was quite informative about Block Watch principals and benefits, and how police operate now on a reactive basis rather than preventive based on available resources.
“I got to meet new neighbours that live close but not on my street and even though we chat on Facebook, it’s nice to actually meet them too.”
After Block Captain and co-Block Captain training for those who sign up and get vetted by RCMP, the blocks with the trained neighbours will create an action plan for the street and a zone that criminals will want to avoid, Robin noted.
“Our goal is to be like Glenora where over 500 residences are Block Watch protected. We will no longer be the lazy laid back easy target. We will ensure that we are safe and that we will inform the RCMP with enough information on those that trespass or skulk around that they will be caught.”
“Carol-Ann gave a very informative presentation on what Block Watch is all about and with three more groups forming in Crofton hopefully we can keep the riff-raff out of town,” resident Gabor Horvath pointed out.
“Let’s stop this now,” emphasized Robin. “The outcome of an interaction is not going to be good for anybody.”
It’s all about taking back the town by the good citizens and making it the wonderful place to live the majority of the population seeks.
“Sometimes you need a bad thing to bring the public together,” Robin said.
“This is going to have a sense of community coming back in - people taking pride in their neighbourhood, people looking out for each other,” noted Shawn Torrance, co-Block captain for Tidemark Way.
Another round of information from Carol Anne Rolls will be scheduled in late September for those who missed the initial meeting. That event will be advertised on the message board outside Crofton Elementary School and in the Courier.
Meanwhile, more than 200 signatures were gathered in two days on a petition to the provincial government that seeks 500 signatures to have the old Crofton Elementary School torn down. It’s been a source of some illicit activity around town that’s already been curtailed by new chain link security fencing erected on the site by School District 79.
“Our job is not done,” stressed Robin. “But we certainly have got a good foothold against these people.”