Bearberry Crime Watch Committee (BBCW) – new initiative to fight crime in our area

During the latest hunting season several Bearberry residents informed us that hunters came onto their property without permission, shooting animals right on their property. Fish & Wildlife and the Police were called.

We got information that the numbers of Fish & Wildlife Officers responsible for Sundre/Olds Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch district are down 50 % in officer staff in the past 10 years, coinciding with an approximately 33 % reduction provincially. This might be one of the reason why people get frustrated when they report a poaching incident, and no one responds.

Bearberry residents feel helpless, they were told not to approach a criminal and they can do nothing to stop this. They were told because of lack of officers those people get away without being charged.

This is the reason why several Bearberry residents feel the need to come together to find a solution and we came up with the idea to create a Bearberry Crime Watch Committee.

During the next Bearberry Wapitana Society Annual General Meeting scheduled for

January 14, 2020, Start at 6:00 p.m.

we will get a short 15 minutes presentation from one of our Bearberry residents, Murray Bates, AB Fish and Wildlife officer (Ret.), Wildlife Enforcement Consultant and advisor to MLA Jason Nixon who is also the Environment, Parks-Wildlife Minister.

According to Mr. Bates’ statement he was very efficient in solving, and just as importantly, preventing crime during his time of duty. He had to use what ‘tools’ were available, which were not many; although Rural Crime Watch was in its infancy. The Report a Poacher 1-800 line or ‘Rap’ also came at the end of his career. With 1700 prosecutions (97.8% solved), his record was more than double the provincial average.

Mr. Bates offered to help with the setup of a Crime Prevention Group in Bearberry.

After the presentation we will ask Bearberry residents whether they are interested in the formation of this Crime Watch Group and we will set a follow up meeting where we will discuss further details.

In the meantime, if you encounter any problems with poaching or other crimes please call:

Report a Poacher – 1-800 642-3800

RCMP complaint line in Red Deer (a Sundre#) – 403-638-3655.

FWEB (Fish&Wildlife Enf. Branch) 403-638-3805

The RCMP No. may not be answered or caller may be put on hold. Don’t be afraid to call these numbers if you suspect something. Both numbers are 24 hours.

If you had phoned Fish & Wildlife re: suspected illegal hunting or poaching and did not get a response or follow up by an officer, you are encouraged to call Charlene at Jason Nixon, MLA’s office. He is concerned about under staffing of Fish and Wildlife officers and should be notified if a citizen is concerned about this.  His No. is 403-638-5029 or mail concern to Box 1547, Sundre.

December 19, 2019

Bearberry Wapitana Society