You would think these would be heady days for our town.
We’re just coming out of a municipal election that has given Trail a new mayor. The mayor and council will begin to plan for the city’s future, which looks bright at first glance.
A new skatepark is about to open adding another great attraction for residents and visitors. The town is bustling, there’s big crowds at hockey games, the new museum/library continues to draw accolades and the theatre has become one of downtown’s shining jewels.
However, with all the good news comes bad news too.
Few days go by without a report from police or a reader or on social media about crime around the city.
Be it broken windows at St. Michael’s School or a break-in at the Royal Theatre or in homes across the city, the reality and impact of crime reverberates throughout the community.
In today’s world the first instinct appears to be to find someone to blame.
“The cops aren’t doing enough,” one screams.
“Our court system doesn’t punish offenders,” another echoes.
Stopping short of grabbing torches and heading out in the streets, there appears no shortage of anger and energy towards the spate of crime infecting our region.
It’s not really new, there always has and will be some crime, but the increased reports of crimes committed is noticeable and understandably alarming.
So, as a Trail resident, what do you do?
We can rely on the police to solely stem the crime or we can help.
I’m not talking about grabbing pitchforks or vigilante efforts. There are many other ways we can fight crime.
I’ll admit growing up in rural Ontario and in peaceful Trail I’m from the old school of leaving doors unlocked and never thinking I’d be a victim of crime.
That changed a couple of years ago when our home was broken into. A few replaceable items, such as TV and electronic devices, were taken not enough for an insurance claim but a hit to your pocket book and definitely a hit to your sense of security.
The police often preach about doing simple things like making sure your car doors are locked, the house is locked, there are lit areas around your home and so many other ways you can deter criminals.
There’s been a call out for reviving Citizens on Patrol, a neighbourhood watch and other group initiatives.
For me, I now make it a habit of one last walk around the yard before going to bed. Making sure things are locked, nothing laying around, and a light is on.
Even late at night, if I get up for some reason, my first instinct is to look out the window, up and down the street to see if there’s any activity. Sometimes it’s just someone walking home from a shift or some late-night partiers who didn’t want to drive.
Same when I first get up early in the morning – I look out the window. From our top floor I can look around the neighborhood somewhat and do a quick scan of anything out of the ordinary.
I realize it’s not a lot, but in a small part, it’s something. I’m watching out for my neighbours and my neighbourhood and hope they do the same.
And that’s the main message from police.
Try as they might, they can’t be everywhere at all times. And the more eyes out there the better. Do little things around your home and neighborhood to prevent crime opportunities.
It might not prevent all crime, but you just might sleep a little better.
Guy Bertrand is the managing editor of the Trail Times