Crime free season at Othello Tunnels

Hope Crime Prevention Society volunteers logged a total of 567 hours patrolling the local tourist attraction

Hope Crime Prevention Society is celebrating an important milestone this year.

For the first time in a decade, there were no police files at Othello Tunnels. The non-profit group has been regularly canvassing the parking lot area for years in an effort to curb vehicle break-ins and thefts. The area has been known as a hotspot for crime in the past, with total police files peaking at 13 in 2009, but targeted volunteer efforts have helped reduce the number of incidents.

“This is a monstrous achievement. We’re just so pleased,” said volunteer Geoff Hodgkinson, crediting not only the volunteer patrols but a greater awareness among people about the importance of locking valuables away.

This year, Hope Crime Prevention Society volunteers logged a total of 567 hours patrolling Othello Tunnels. Members handed out educational pamphlets to tourists and checked vehicles for valuables on display. Hodgkinson said 4,928 vehicles were audited this summer.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Suki Manj said Hope Crime Prevention Society volunteers are an asset to both the community and local police force.

“It just shows that volunteerism, if properly deployed, can have a dramatic effect in our community. I know we couldn’t do our job as well as we do without their support,” he added.

“There’s no way we could have spent that time and energy as a police force up in that area to make people feel safe and allow people to enjoy what we have here without being targeted and vandalized. Word spreads when people know they can stop in our community and there’s people watching out for them.”

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Hope Crime Prevention Society at hcps@telus.net or 604-869-5900.