Neighbourhood Watch group reviews options

Rainy River’s Neighbourhood Watch met last Thursday (May 8) to review their concerns and consider future direction.
A dozen concerned individuals were in attendance, including chairwoman Marilyn McAlister. Attendance by the OPP’s Community Policing representative had been requested but could not be scheduled.
Jack Elliott filled in details on a recent vandalism incident at his home on First Street.
He commended neighbours for their immediate support during and following the vandalism, and the OPP on their speedy resolution of that incident.
He also outlined steps he is undertaking to help prevent a similar recurrence. The responsible party has been incarcerated.
Other concerns on the time for response to 9-1-1 calls, specifically a two-and-three-quarters hour response time to a reported break-in at Rainy River High School days earlier, was not as generous.
The consensus was that serious, violent vandalism in the community was not a major problem, but property damage perpetrated by juveniles is.
The reluctance to report these acts to the police by many witnesses is a significant reason these type acts cannot be reduced, said Rainy River Mayor Deb Ewald.
If youths feel they can carry on this type of behaviour with impunity, there is little to deter them, she added, urging witnesses to report all incidents of vandalism to the authorities.
Mayor Ewald outlined the court procedures and options involved in disciplining juvenile first-time offenders in these incidents, and reminded the group that parents are liable for damages caused by their juvenile children.
“Parents have to be responsible by setting a proper example,” stressed Gerry Jolicoeur, detailing the littering problem around such venues as the ballpark and the refusal of parents in attendance to discipline their children.
It was agreed the bulk of problems were caused by a very small fraction of the population, and that all youths should not be condemned for the actions of those few.
Future action of the group is directed towards continuing to seek a meeting with the OPP Community Policing representative and investigating the possibility of involving Crime Stoppers in solving past incidents, including the extensive damage caused by the recent break-in at the recreation centre.
Members also took home information on Neighbourhood Watch to distribute to their neighbours.

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