In partnership with the City of North Battleford, the North Battleford Fire Department and a number of local businesses, Battleford RCMP has launched three community safety initiatives to help communities tackle and prevent local crime.
These three initiatives include preventing catalytic converter theft with the “You Etch. We Catch It” program; a safe space where people can meet to buy/sell/trade goods called the “Safe Internet Exchange Zone”; and a daily routine to protect your home from property crime, the “9 p.m. Routine.”
“Our priority is the safety and security of the people we serve,” said Sergeant Adam Buckingham of the North Battleford RCMP. “These community safety initiatives complement the day-to-day policing done to keep our communities safe. We greatly appreciate the cooperation with the municipality, other local emergency services and local companies in these initiatives. We all play an important role in the safety and well-being of our community and additional measures – programs like the ones we introduce – only add another layer of security.”
“You Etch It. We Catch It” – Preventing catalytic converter theft
Police hope that the launch of the new theft prevention program will make it more difficult for thieves to sell stolen catalytic converters.
The program allows participating local businesses to engrave the last 8 digits of a vehicle’s identification number (VIN) into the catalytic converter for free when it is serviced.
According to RCMP, officers have sometimes caught suspects with catalytic converters in their possession. However, due to a lack of identifying information, they were unable to prove that the converters had been stolen. This lack of identifying information on the converters also meant that the RCMP could not return them to their rightful owners.
“With the VIN etched on the catalytic converter, it greatly increases the likelihood that criminals who commit these crimes can be held accountable for their actions and that the inverters can be returned to where they belong,” said a press release from Sask. RCMP.
Similar programs have also been established by both Kindersley and Warman RCMP.
Catalytic converter theft continues to be a problem across the province. So far in 2022, Sask. RCMP has received 174 reports of catalytic converter theft in RCMP’s jurisdiction, compared to 135 during the same period in 2021.
The North Battleford area will see 39 catalytic thefts in 2022, or 22 percent of all catalytic thefts reported to Sask. RCMP.
Most of the robberies in the town of North Battleford have been committed at business locations, but police report that there have also been thefts from vehicles parked on the street and in parking lots.
“It only takes a few minutes to remove a catalytic converter and virtually all vehicle types are potential targets,” the press release said.
RCMP recommends parking vehicles in a locked garage or in a well-lit area to prevent theft where possible.
Current collaborating companies offering VIN etching services in North Battleford include:
• Bridges Chevrolet Buick GMC
• Minute damper
• Valley Ford sales
• C&C Auto
• Four K Auto Service
All other companies wishing to participate can contact the Battleford RCMP Detachment and any member of the public wishing to have their catalyst etched can contact a participating company.
Safe Internet Exchange Zone – Safe buying and selling
Anyone buying, selling or trading items online in the Battlefords area now has a safe, designated place to meet, thanks to the introduction of the Safe Internet Exchange Zone program.
The designated safe zone is the first of its kind in North Battleford. Similar programs have been established by the Saskatoon Police Department, the Prince Albert Police Department and other police departments across Canada.
The Safe Internet Exchange Zone is located in the North Battleford Fire Department parking lot, located at 902 104 Street, North Battleford. The zone, which is monitored 24/7 by video surveillance, has two designated parking spaces reserved for these exchanges.
“We know that online buying/selling/swapping is very popular. We want to help the people of our community stay safe by providing a public, well-guarded space for transactions to take place,” said Buckingham. “This initiative is another way we’re helping keep our communities safe when it comes to online exchanges.”
The Safe Internet Exchange Zone is available to residents at any time of the day; However, Battleford RCMP encourages residents to visit during the day.
The police have suggested some other tips for buying and selling items online:
• Don’t meet alone. If possible, bring a friend or family member or tell someone where you are going.
• If you can’t meet in the Safe Internet Exchange Zone, consider completing your transaction in well-lit, public locations.
• Do not provide personal information such as bank details or your home address.
• Do not bring large amounts of cash to meetings.
• Be careful when buying/selling valuable items.
• If someone doesn’t want to meet in the Safe Internet Exchange Zone, there’s a chance it’s not a legitimate transaction.
Introducing the 9pm routine
The 9 p.m. Routine is a movement supported by police forces and communities around the world. Residents are encouraged to follow a nighttime routine to ensure their property is locked and safe.
According to RCMP, a large percentage of property crime is opportunistic in nature. Where possible, police are urging community members to take steps to make their property less attractive to would-be thieves.
Practices in the 9 p.m. routine include:
• Make sure the doors and windows of your house and car are closed and locked – the idea is to do this at a certain time every night to make it a habit.
• Securing your barns and outbuildings.
• Stow items that could entice thieves or vandals, including fuel or large tools.
• Removing spare keys, garage door openers, electronics and other valuables from vehicles.
• Turn on a home security system if you have one.
“Anyone can participate in the 9 p.m. routine by incorporating these safety steps into your daily life. You can better protect yourself, your family and property by doing a few simple things every day,” Buckingham said. “Doing them at the same time helps to form a habit. Checking those windows, doors, etc. every night should become second nature.”
Residents are asked to be alert to suspicious activities in their neighborhood and to report this immediately to the local police. Information may also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at www.saskcrimestoppers.com.