COPS reaching out into the community

The chairperson of Arthur’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has invited Wellington North Council to have a member of council represent the municipality on the committee.

Lynda White said the committee, made of up of business people and residents of Arthur, would welcome the addition of a township councillor.

“We need a successful partnership with community leaders,” she said, following a presentation on the committee’s work at Monday evening’s regular council meeting. It was an invitation council is expected to fill.

“I think it’s an awesome program and kudos to the whole organization,” Mayor Ray Tout said. “You’ve done a great job of getting this off the ground.”

White said the committee was formed after she was approached by a local businessman concerned about crime in the community. Because of her involvement with Wellington County OPP through her position as a Wellington County Councillor representing the southern portion of Wellington North, White said it was quickly recognized that steps had to be taken to combat crime.

The committee was formed with a mandate to work closely with OPP and identify ways to minimize crime in the community. The process included a public meeting to discuss community concerns and, according to White, the meeting attracted about 60 people. Concerns raised include youth crime, drug awareness, property crime and general public safety.

“The parents were amazed at how many services are available for drug abuse,” she said, referring to information provided at the public meeting to combat drug use and crime.

The committee also had a booth at the Arthur Fall Fair to gather community input  and recruited “three new members” during the event.

White said further events are planned for this year to continue to educate and get suggestions from residents about ways to identify potential crime activity and prevent it.

“We’ll do a lock it or lose it campaign in the spring checking vehicles,” she said of the event that will see OPP officers randomly check parked cars to see whether they are locked and to leave brochures on unlocked vehicles to make owners aware of the necessity to lock their cars to prevent vandalism. “Awareness is our buzz word.”

The committee is also looking at the creation of a neighbourhood watch program in Arthur and the possible creation of a skateboard park to keep young people physically active, something statistics have shown reduces youth crime.

White said the committee is planning a public forum on internet abuse and fraud directed at all age groups, including seniors who are often the target of fraudulent scams.

“The Arthur community is proud to take an active role with our local police to assist in serving our community in providing excellence in all aspects of community living,” the Arthur COPS mission statement reads.

“We aim to provide education in making our seniors aware of fraud, property owners on protecting their homes and vehicles and, most importantly, our youth to direct them away from the pressures that are prevalent in our society.”

“Our motto is ‘Better Through Prevention’,” White told council.