Volunteers who want to help keep the streets of Hope safe are urgently needed, as the Hope Crime Prevention Society sees a decline in numbers.
The society has seen volunteer numbers steadily drop due to members moving from the community or aging and unable to continue as volunteers.
George Rice, vice-president of the 100 per cent volunteer-led organization, said members have an opportunity to keep Hope crime-free by acting as an extra set of eyes for the RCMP.
Volunteers do a number of things in the community. Perhaps most well-known for street patrols, the society also monitors drivers on long weekends to ensure they are adhering to speed limits in school zones and problem areas.
Drivers parked around town may have gotten a “ticket” on their windshield from the society, as part of the Lock-Out Auto Crime program.
Volunteers check cars to ensure they are locked and valuables are not left in plain sight. If anything looks likely to bait a car thief, a note is left for the vehicle owner.
Part of this initiative is Tunnels Watch, a program running from May to September at the Othello Tunnels. Rice said it has been a resounding success for the society.
“In the first year or two, we actually took the break-ins from several hundred a year down to zero,” he said. “The people that were doing this, obviously somebody that was regularly out there, started noticing there were people watching and went elsewhere to do their crime.”
The society also provides low-level security for community events such as Brigade Days and Hope’s chainsaw carving competitions.
While one volunteer has gone on to join the RCMP, Rice said the Hope Crime Prevention Society is not in the business of enforcement.
“Some people think that we’re an enforcement agency, that we’re going to go out and grab people and wrestle them to the ground,” he said.
“Our mandate is zero interaction when we see something going on, other than reporting it to the police.”
For members of the community who are looking into careers in law enforcement, Rice added volunteering with the society offers a chance to build good relationships with ICBC and the RCMP.
People interested in volunteering need to be of legal age, able to commit to four hours per month and pass a criminal record check.
The society’s office is at 777 Fraser Ave.