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This article was published 10/7/2018 (1121 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Manitoba Citizens On Patrol Program is looking to expand its membership now that communities are growing.
West St. Paul COPP groups have already announced they are looking to expand their membership of 25 people. Detlef Hindemith, WSP COPP co-ordinator and Manitoba’s COPP director, said there’s always a need to get more groups to join local COPP or to create a new one as the communities grow.
COPP started in 1991 with the goal of mobilizing citizens to work in partnership with law enforcement agencies to prevent crime and create a safer community.
"We are just out on the street as a deterrent, you don’t have to go handcuffing anyone, we’re not about that, we are observational, we’re reporting, we don’t get physically involved," Hindemith explained.
West St. Paul formed its COPP group in 2011 and have been working together with the RCMP since then. Even though the crime rate in West St. Paul is very low, they have recovered things like stolen snowmobiles, reported stolen vehicles, looked for missing persons, volunteered at community events, and participated in several activities to include crime prevention.
Manitoba has 52 groups throughout the province but only three in Winnipeg. Hindemith said they are hoping to create more groups that will work with the Winnipeg Police Service and help with crime prevention.
"Criminals are going to think twice about committing a crime because they know there are people out there, it’s like the cat in the house syndrome," he added.
Christian Tardi, co-ordinator of the Riverbend COPP, said they provide education to the residents about precautions that they can take to prevent somebody from wanting to come into their property.
"I am a firm believer…that it takes a community to keep a community safe and to maintain a proper cordial relations with the people in the community," Tardi said. "If you know your neighbours and get to understand who they are and are communicating with them frequently, the chances are that you’ll be looking out for each other."
Tardi said people rely on the police force and the government to step in and look after things, "but at the end of the day, there are only certain resources available to do those things."
"As a community, we need to stick together and look out for each other and help the police and other organizations be successful. We can’t always rely on them for everything."
Those wanting to form a COPP group can contact the provincial co-ordinator at 204-985-8849. If someone would like to join Riverbend’s group, email Tardi at firstname.lastname@example.org
Community journalist — The Times
Ligia Braidotti was the community journalist for The Times until 2019.