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Thursday , 13 May 2021

St. Paul security firm patrolling streets looking for suspicious activity

St. Paul’s three month agreement with a private security firm patrolling the streets of the town to watch for suspicious activity is nearing a close and the town will discuss if they want to continue the service at their next council meeting.

“It initiated because we had a lot of break and enters and a lot of vehicle thefts. We had a real increase in the last 12 months. Our community had requested that we do something about it,” said Mayor Maureen Miller.

With the increase in crime, RF Protection & K9 Services monitors the town in unmarked vehicles twice a week at different times and reports to the RCMP.

They do similar work in Elk Point six nights a week.

If needed, they can detain suspects and make arrests until the RCMP arrive.

They haven’t had to make an arrest yet, but the RCMP have because of their patrols.

“We have noticed a significant reduction in the crime happening in the town,” said RF Protection & K9 Services owner Debbie Hunter.

“However, there is a correlation with the crime happening just outside of town with that. It appears to us that they’re leaving the actual town and it’s often going into the other smaller towns. We keep a pretty close eye on crime watches and other areas to Facebook pages and that type of stuff. We’ve noticed a reduction in town, but increase outside of the town.” she said.

The town put money aside to reinforce their crime fighting efforts. On top of the $6000 spend for private monitoring, St. Paul council gave $3000 to the C.O.P.S (Citizens on Patrol) and paid to train their peace officers on CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design).

“We’ve already maxed out our RCMP support that we could. We gave our RCMP an additional administration so they could have more boots on the ground,” said Miller.

“But the community was still wanting more assurance that they were in a safe community.”

Miller said the rural crime issue in St. Paul is coming from out of town more so than from residents.

“It’s transient crime, it’s not even local. It’s just because our community became an easy target. Let’s figure out where the targets are happening and now we’re just feeding that information so we can support,” said Miller.

“It’s made a difference. I was getting calls regularly…it’s now just gathering all those resources to funnel in where we can now make a difference.”

In the meantime, CPTED presentations have been put on by the St. Paul and District Chamber of Commerce and business owners.

St. Paul town council will evaluate what the security firm has found out over the past three months and decide if they want to continue at their next council meeting.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.