Take a bite out of crime

Ian Jacques/Editor / Staff writer
November 9, 2012 01:00 AM

This week during Crime Prevention week in B.C., the provincial government honoured two difference makers on the Sunshine Coast.

Sechelt's Edward Keeling received the Anthony J. Hulme Award of Distinction for his lifetime contribution and commitment to crime prevention and community safety.

Keeling has been in crime prevention-related fields since the 1940s. When he moved to the Sunshine Coast in 1995, he helped start the first community policing office in Pender Harbour and helped start more than 30 Block Watch areas on the Coast.

Charlene Smith is an amazing young woman who received a youth award for her commitment to setting up programs on the Coast teaching important life lessons to high school and elementary school students.

Smith is a go-getter and is the type of young person this community needs - someone with passion, commitment and dedication to making the community a better place.

We could not agree more with Sunshine Coast RCMP Staff Sgt. Herb Berdahl when he said "the future bodes well for us as a country and as a community when there are young people like Charlene out there."

And we have equal kudos for Keeling as well. His dedication is second to none. Who knows if Pender would have started community policing or whether Block Watch would have been so successful had it not been for his vision.

Celebrate and thank them for their efforts.

And there is good news for drivers this week as well - new figures released during Crime Prevention week show the rate of auto-theft crime is on the decline.

In the first half of 2012, vehicle thefts dropped 17 per cent in the province.

Compare that to a decade ago when auto crime was on the rise and B.C. had the dubious honour of having one of the highest auto theft rates in North America.

So why are the stats lowering? Well, for many reasons, it seems, according to ICBC and the provincial government.

For starters, the successful bait car program, introduced in communities throughout B.C., including here on the Sunshine Coast, has taken a big bite out of auto crime.

Many would-be thieves have been caught red-handed at the wheel and we're sure they wished they had chosen a different car or a different line of work altogether.

Police and community volunteers have also stepped up their efforts, and together with the bait car program, since 2002, vehicle thefts and break-ins have dropped by 74 per cent and 62 per cent respectively throughout the province.

Crime prevention in general is on the decline - and that's because everyone is playing a part.


© Coast Reporter

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