Hope Crime Prevention Society volunteers Linda Vandermeulen

Volunteers needed for Hope Crime Prevention Society initiative

Team combats vehicle break-ins and thefts at Othello Tunnels

Hope Crime Prevention Society needs more volunteers to keep its patrols at Othello Tunnels running this year.

The non-profit group has been regularly canvassing the parking lot area for about 12 years in an effort to combat vehicle break-ins and thefts.

“We used to have a contingent of members who were retired and they loved to go up to the tunnels, but they got older and they can’t do it anymore,” said Joan Hodgkinson.

“So all of a sudden we found this past summer we were down to about six regular people who could go and we need to find more because we would like to have someone at the tunnels everyday.”

The society is hoping to have teams ready for the opening of Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park at the end of May and will provide new volunteers with some training. Members are asked to work four-hour shifts patrolling the area – however many choose to do more – and hand out educational pamphlets to tourists about the importance of locking up valuables.

“The nice thing about the tunnels is it’s not work. It’s meet and greet with tourists for the most part,” said Hodgkinson. “We’ve met people from all over the world. It’s such a pleasant place to spend a summer day. It’s also a good way to contribute to the community.”

RCMP Staff Sgt. Suki Manj said the program acts as a deterrent for people who go to the park solely to commit crime. The area is known as a hotspot for vehicle thefts, but Manj pointed out that volunteers have helped reduce the number of incidents over the last two years.

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Hope Crime Prevention Society at hcps@telus.net or 604-869-5900. Volunteers may be subject to an RCMP background check.

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